An award-winning koto star from a young age, Yumi Kurosawa is one of today's most exciting soloists on Japan's national instrument. Her solo repertoire includes classical Japanese compositions, as well as her own innovative and enchanting original works. Born in Morioka, Japan, Kurosawa began her koto studies when she was three, going on to win first prize at the National Japanese Koto Competition for students in 1989 and 1992. Since relocating to the US, she has played on such stages as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Apollo Theater, and the Blue Note. Kurosawa has been a principal soloist with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Swan in the UK, and the Houston Grand Opera, and in 2015, she was commissioned to write an original score for the Houston Ballet. Her many collaborations have included pairings of koto with tabla, with oud, with string quartet, and with dance, including a piece with the Beyonce-affiliated dance duo Les Twins. Kurosawa is currently working on a collaborative program with tabla player Anubrata Chatterjee, son of the world-renowned tabla master Anindo Chatterjee. She has two solo albums out to date: 2015's Looking up at the Sky, and 2009's Beginning of a Journey.


"The koto's notes flow like the water of a stream in a zen garden, building melodic paths in a logic that resembles European medieval and Renaissance music."

All About Jazz


Photo by Gion. Download hi-res version here.

Photo by Gion. Download hi-res version here.

Photo by Gion. Download hi-res version here.

Photo by Jennifer Gonzalez. Download hi-res version here.

Photo by Akira Takahashi. Download hi-res version here.

Photo by Gion. Download hi-res version here.


"Vivid and appealing... Kurosawa followed the concerto with two solo pieces — “Disorder,” by the 17th-century composer Kengyo Yatsuhashi, and "GreenPt" written by herself — that showcased the instrument’s somewhat timeless voice."

Anne Midgette, The Washington Post


"Yumi Kurosawa was mesmerizing on the 20-string koto."

Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times



"An inventive, seemingly cosmopolitan composer... Ms. Kurosawa presents her themes gracefully and then undertakes intricate, sometimes adventurous variations, drawing on a timbral palette that ranged from warm and rounded to bright and metallic... chromatic, harplike swirls, fluid chordal figures and alluring bent notes."

Allann Kozinn, The New York Times



Audio: Yumi Kurosasa - "Inner Space"


Audio: Yumi Kurosawa - "GreenPt"