Born in Tokyo, Kotaro Fukuma began learning piano at the age of five and has received many high awards in international competitions, including the Arthur Rubinstein (Tel Aviv), Paloma O’Shea (Santander), Maj Lind (Helsinki), BNDES (Rio De Janeiro), and Gina Bachauer (Salt Lake City).
In 2003, at the age of 20, Kotaro won both First Prize and the Chopin Prize at the 15th Cleveland International Piano Competition.
Since then his concert career has developed on five continents.
Kotaro has performed in major concert venues and festivals, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, the Wigmore Hall in London, at both the Philharmonie and the Konzerthaus in Berlin, in the Gewandhaus Leipzig, Salle Olivier Messiaen (Radio France) and Salle Gaveau in Paris, Victoria Hall (Geneva), Auditorio Nacional (Madrid), Sala Mozart (Zaragoza), Forbidden City Concert Hall (Beijing), Oriental Center (Shanghai) and Suntory Hall and Opera City (Tokyo), Miami International Piano Festival, La Roque d'Anthéron and Piano aux Jacobins, ...
His performances with orchestras include the Cleveland Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, Île de France National Orchestra, Galicia Royal Philharmonic, Japan Century Philharmonic and New Japan Philharmonic, under the direction of such conductors as Yuri Simonov, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Juanjo Mena, Asher Fisch, Hannu Lintu, Lawrence L. Smith, François- Xavier Roth, Jahja Ling, Kazuyoshi Akiyama and Kazuki Yamada.
He received the Chopin Prize in Japan in 2013 and this same year, he made his debuat at La Folle Journée in Japan and was called to replace Hélène Grimaud in the « Grandes Pianistas » serie in Santiago.
Beginning of July 2016, with 24h-notice he steped in for Nelson Freire to perform Brahms' Piano concerto n°2 with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse under Tugan Sokhiev.
This concert was broadcasted live on Medici.tv.
Recents projects include recitals in France (Rouen, Cluses, Lyon), in Germany (Schloss Elmau, Berlin, Hambourg), in Denmark, in Japan (Tokyo, Osaka,…) and also concerts with the Georgisches Kammerorchester in Germany (Concerto n°2 of James MacMillan, conducted by Mihhail Gerts), several programs in Japan (Mozart Kv.595 with the NHK Orchestra, Kv.459 and Kv.491 with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in play-conduct, the Concerto no°2 of Brahms with the Tokyo New City Philharmonic and the Concerto n°3 of Osawa with the Japan Philharmonic, conducted by Kazuki Yamada), as well as tours in Argentina and in the United States on one hand, and on the other in Austria, with the Tonkünstler-Orchester (Concerto n°4 of Beethoven).
In the frame of his 2017/2018 season, Kotaro Fukuma will perfom multiple recitals in France (La Roque d'Anthéron, Lyon, Cluses, Villefranche-sur-Mer, La Maison du Japon in Paris, Festival Messiaen au Pays de la Meije and with the Orchestre Symphonique de Mulhouse under Patrick Davin (Rachmaninov's and Prokofiev's Concertos n°1 for piano)), Luxemburg, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Germany, South America (Buenos Aires, Santiago, Parana) and Japan (concerts with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra under Kazuki Yamada, with the Kanagawa Philharmonic, recitals at Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukushima, Osaka, Yamagata, ...).
Passionate about contemporary music, Kotaro has performed world and national premieres of works by Toru Takemitsu, Mutsuo Shishido, Renaud Gagneux, Thierry Escaich, Thierry Huillet, Peter Klatzow and Francesco Milita.
Kotaro Fukuma has released more than ten commercial CDs: two for Naxos (Schumann, Takemitsu), two for the Japanese label Accustika (Liszt, Toppan Live Recital), one for Harmony-Hortus (Iberia d’Albéniz), one for Denon-Hortus (Debussy) and his last recordings are dedicated to Russian music (« Dumka », Denon/Hortus, 2014), Chopin (« Autour des ballades », Denon/Hortus, 2015), water («Sing to Water", EDP, 2016), Mozart & Schumann (Denon, 2016, with the Yokohama Sinfonietta under Kazuki Yamada) and Chopin again ("Chopin Legacy", Ars Produktion, 2017).
His recordings have received critical acclaim in such music magazines as Gramophone, Diapason, American Music Records, Monde de la Musique, Classica, Bayern 4 Klassik and Classic Today.
His concerts were broadcasted in USA (WNYC, WCLV, WPR), in Germany (Deutschlandfunk), in France (France 2, France Musique, Radio Classique), in Finland (YLE), in Japan (NHK, NHK-FM, TBS), in Spain (TVE, Radio Clasica), in South Africa (Classic FM), in Italy (Classica FM), in Brazil (SBT), in Poland (TVP3)…
Kotaro studied music at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (2001-2005) with Bruno Rigutto and Marie-Françoise Bucquet, then at the Universität der Künste Berlin (2005-2010) with Klaus Hellwig and at the International Piano Academy Lake Como in Italy (2006-2009).
He also has studied with several great masters of the piano, including Leon Fleisher, Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, Alicia de Larrocha, Maria Joao Pires, Leslie Howard and Aldo Ciccolini.
Kotaro Fukuma lives in Berlin.