I am becoming a fan of violinist and cofounder of Naxos, Takako Nishizaki, here is a brief bio. She takes the time and effort of advocating works of lesser known composers. Her company Naxos has contributed lots of listening pleasure to listeners all over the world, Naxos good quality cds are sold at a reasonable price. The Naxos site www.naxos.com provide more educational information than any site on the web. If you join as an online member (free), you have an opportunity to listen to all the Naxos cds.
Takako Niishizaki, what a great musician, violinist and music educator.
From the Naxos site:
Takako Nishizaki is one of the world's most recorded and appreciated violinists, especially beloved in China and other parts of Southeast Asia through her many popular recordings and personal appearances in concerts and in the media. She also lies at the very heart of Naxos' rich recorded offering of music for the violin.
As a child, Takako Nishizaki studied with her father, Shinji, the co-founder of the Suzuki Method, and with Shinichi Suzuki himself. She was the first student to complete the now famous Suzuki course and was awarded a teacher's diploma at the tender age of nine. She started performing in public at the age of five and, before she was ten, had already played for artists such as Isaac Stern and Sir Malcolm Sargent as well as the French author Georges Duhamel, who wrote about the experience in his book Le Japon.
Subsequently, she studied with Broadus Earle and Hideo Saito (general musicianship) at the Toho Conservatory in Tokyo. In 1964 she went to the United States and first studied again with Broadus Earle, but at Yale, and then with Joseph Fuchs at Juilliard. Other teachers at the time included Louis Persinger and Aldo Parisot.
While at Juilliard, Takako Nishizaki was awarded the Fritz Kreisler Scholarship, established by the great violinist himself. Among her sponsors was Alice Tully. In 1967 she won Second Prize at the Leventritt International Competition (behind Itzhak Perlman) and in 1969 First Prize in the Juilliard Concerto Competition.
Her success at the Leventritt International Competition launched her concert career, initially only in the United States but subsequently internationally. Takako Nishizaki has performed and recorded with pianists such as András Schiff, Jenö Jandó, Wolf Harden, Alexander Zakin, Michael Ponti, Koon-Woo Paik and many others. She has also performed in chamber music ensembles with Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Nobuko Imai, Ko Iwasaki and Maria Kliegel.
Takako Nishizaki is one of the most frequently recorded and among the best-selling violinists of all time. Her recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons was named the 8th best-selling classical CD ever with sales exceeding 900,000 copies to date. Her recordings of the Butterfly Lovers Concerto by He and Chen sold more than three million copies in the People's Republic of China and throughout Southeast Asia. Takako Nishizaki has recorded more than 100 CDs in all, for a number of labels.
For Marco Polo, she has recorded a number of rare violin concertos by Anton Rubinstein, Louis Spohr, Cesar Cui, Charles de Beriot, Respighi and Joseph Joachim. For Naxos, she has recorded the complete works for violin and orchestra by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Tchaikovsky as well as the concertos of Brahms, Bruch and Mendelssohn. She has also recorded the complete sonatas for violin and piano by Mozart and Beethoven as well as the sonatas of Grieg and Franck. Her latest recording for Naxos is the widely appreciated first volume of the Chevalier de St-Georges' violin concertos.
The Vivaldi, Bach, Brahms/Bruch and Tchaikovsky/Mendelssohn recordings as well as her recording with Jeno Jando of the Beethoven Spring/Kreutzer Sonatas have became platinum discs with sales in excess of 100,000 copies each worldwide.
Since settling in Hong Kong in 1974, Takako Nishizaki has become the best-known and also best-selling performer of Chinese violin music. In addition to the Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto she has performed and recorded concertos dedicated to her by Du Ming-Xin and Chen Gang and a large number of shorter pieces. She was awarded a Golden Violin by Pacific Music in Guangzhou in 1982 for her work in promoting Chinese music internationally and in 1998 received an award by the Chinese Musicians Association for her services to Chinese music. China Central Television has produced several feature programmes devoted to her life and career in Chinese music, most recently in 1999.
Takako Nishizaki lives in Hong Kong with her husband Klaus Heymann, the founder of Naxos, but she has a much loved second home in Auckland, New Zealand. She travels frequently and her favourite cities are, she says, Sydney, Vienna and San Francisco. Her greatest passion after music is good food and she is herself an excellent cook. She also enjoys red wine, with a preference for French or New World pinot noir.
Her only son, Henryk (named after the composer Wieniawski) goes to university in Nashville, Tennessee.