Photo: Stefan Bremer
Naoko Ichihashi graduated from the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo in 1981 and continued her studies that same year at Indiana University under György Sebök. In 1986, she received the prize for the best accompanist at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. On graduating from Indiana University, Ichihashi moved to Finland and took up a post as a chamber music pianist at the Sibelius Academy. At the same time she joined the Avanti! chamber orchestra. She gave her debut concert in Helsinki in 1990. From 1991-1992, Ichihashi studied at the École normale supérieure and gained a ‘Licence de concert’ diploma. In 1993 she took second prize in the Oulu Chamber Music Competition. Naoko Ichihashi was a lecturer at the Sibelius Academy until 2014. She is a highly respected and active musician, performs frequently at chamber music events, and is accompanying pianist in the Jean Sibelius Violin Competition and the Paulo Cello Competition.