Mayu Kishima was born in Kobe, Japan. She began the violin at the age of three.
Kishima has won a large number of prizes in competitions inside and outside Japan. In 2000, she caused a stir in the music world by taking top honors (second prize with no first prize awarded) at the age of 13 at the 8th Wieniawski International Competition for Young Violinists. She was the youngest-ever Japanese top prize winner in the competition. Most recently, she was awarded First Prize, as well as the David Garrett Award for outstanding musical interpretation, in the final round of the International Music Competition Cologne 2011 for her performance of the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 2.
In June 2004, Kishima performed with the Russian National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Spivakov. Her performance was lauded by a Russian newspaper, which said: “It’s no wonder the great Mstislav Rostropovich calls her ‘the world’s best young violinist.’ She awed the audience with her superb technique and mature understanding of the music.”
In 2005, Kishima performed with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich (Rome and Madrid, February); the National Symphony (Washington, D.C., May); the London Symphony Orchestra (London, June); and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Munich and other locations, July). She was praised by the influential Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, which said: “She was made known to the world by Rostropovich in the same way that Karajan made Anne-Sofie Mutter famous and Maazel made Hilary Hahn famous.”
Kishima has participated in several recordings thus far. On the strong recommendation of Vladimir Ashkenazy, who had become Music Director of the NHK Symphony Orchestra, she performed “Tzigane” on Ravel: Orchestral Works, the first recording by Ashkenazy & the NHK Symphony Orchestra (released on Octavia Records in November 2003). She performed with the same conductor and orchestra again in March 2006. And in January 2008, Kishima released her solo album Chaconne and in Dec. 2013 she released her new solo album ‘Rise’ featuring Sonata No. 1 by Faure.
Currently Kishima is based in Colongne and Paris and performs frequently in Europe. She recently took part in a tour of Germany with the Bonn Philharmonic Orchestra. She also performed with Natalia Gutman in Moscow; with the Novaya Rossiya State Symphony Orchestra in Sochi; and with Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists in Japan, as well as performed a recital in Algerich’s Festival in Lugano. She gave passionate performances of Khachaturian’s Vioin Concerto in September 2011 with the Prague Symphony Orchestra in Prague, and in spring 2012 with the Kansai Philharmonic and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestras, receiving the acclaim of the orchestras as well as the audiences. She also participated in the Pietrasanta Music Festival in Italy where she performed chamber music with Martha Algerich and many others. She also gave a recital in Spain.
In 2013, she toured in Belgium with the Flaunders Symphony Orchestra and was re-invited to participate in the Algerich Music Festival in Lugano and to participate in the Bashmet Music Festival in Sochi, among many others projects including the performance with NHK Symphony Orchestra under Sir Roger Norrington. She also performed with Inbal and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra with much success.
In 2014 her future engagements include a tour with NHK Symphony Orchestra and Flaunders Symphony Orchestra and a co-performance with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra.
Kishima has received instruction from Izumi Hayashi, Kazuyo Togami, Toshiya Eto, Dorothy DeLay, Masao Kawasaki, Machi Oguri, Chihiro Kudo and others. She participated in the Seiji Ozawa Academy in Switzerland in 2008 and 2009. In the spring of 2012 she graduated from the Hochschule fur Musik in Cologne with top grade of 1.0, where she studied under Zakhar Bron.
In 2002, Kishima received a fellowship for overseas study from the Japanese Ministry of Culture.
Japanese violinist Mayu Kishima has been named the winner of the inaugural Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition and takes home the top prize of $100,000. （September 2, 2016）