Fujiko Hemming
Fujiko Hemming

FUJIKO HEMMING

Pianist

Fujiko was born Ingrid Fujiko Hemming to a Japanese pianist mother and a Swedish father in Berlin.  When Fujiko was a child, she relocated to Tokyo with her family.  As Japan was on the verge of WWII, her father left the country.  During this time, the family had very few resources and Fujiko found herself perfecting her piano technique on a broken piano  It wasn't the ideal situation yet Fujiko fell in love with the instrument.  By the age of 10, she was taking lessons from Leonid Kreutzer, a Russian-born German pianist and her father's longtime friend.  Stuck by her natural ability, he predicted Fujiko's international success as a concert pianist.  By 16, she was hailed a child prodigy - then tragedy struck: Fujiko suffered deafness in her right ear from an inflammation.

Undeterred by such misfortune, Fujiko made her concert debut at 17.  She was still a high school student, and later won various prizes in major domestic competitions, such as the NHK Mainichi Music Contest and the Bunka Radio Broadcasting Co.  Music Prize.  She then began her professional career by collaborating with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra and other Japanese Orchestras.  Samson François who had just happened to be visiting Japan heard her play and immediately praised her musicianship and interpretation of Chopin and Liszt .She then furthered her music studies at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and went on to receive a scholarship and be graduated from the Berlin Institute of Music High School.

Upon finishing school, Fujiko moved to Vienna and worked with the likes of Ukrainian piano great Shura Cherkassky, famed Italian-German conductor Bruno Maderna, and legendary conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein.  Prior to making her recital debut under Bernstein's guidance, Fujiko lost all hearing in her left ear after battling a cold.  For a second time Fujiko's growing career was stopped short.  She went back to Sweden where she sought solace from her aunt and continued her studies.  Eventually, Fujiko obtained her music teaching license.

There, she spent the next few years teaching music while seeking medical attention to restore her hearing.  She took up other odd jobs to make ends meet, including working as a janitor at a psychiatric hospital, and there she found an upright piano.  The nurses were amazed when they heard Fujiko's playing, which touched one of the patients in particular who had never smiled...hearing the Fujiko play brought a smile to his face and touched the hearts of all who looked on.  No one could understand why Fujiko was there and told her she should be a concert pianist... Fujiko's heart was warmed.  After some time, and with great fortune, 40 percent of her hearing was eventually restored in her left ear.  Fujiko started performing in small concert halls again - and shaping her dream of becoming a concert pianist.

In 1999, NHK Television in Japan aired a documentary of Fujiko's life.  The audience immediately fell for Fujiko's eccentric charm and her unique style of performing, ultimately making her a pop star of sorts.  Her first album, La Campanella, went on to sell over two million copies, a very rare accomplishment for any classical artist.  She also received the Classical Album of the Year award at the Japan Gold Disc Awards four different times, another extraordinary achievement for a classical artist.  No other classical artists have ever received the award four times.

Since her debut album release, Fujiko has performed many solo recitals and has collaborated with Artis-Quartet Vienna, the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra (Yuri Simonov, conductor), the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra (Zoltan Kocsis, conductor), the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (Tamás Vásáry, conductor), the Super World Orchestra (Stefan Sanderling, conductor '03 / Alastair Willis, conductor '04), the Dvorak Symphony Orchestra (Tomas Rehak, conductor), The Budapest Concert Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra (Ralf Gothoni, conductor), the National Belgian Orchestra (Mikko Franck, conductor), the Swedish Chamber Orchestra (Thomas Dausgaard, conductor), the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra (Marco Guidarini, conductor), the Cadaques Orchestra (Tamás Vásáry, conductor), the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra (George Pehlivanian, conductor), and the Niederösterreich Tonkünstler Orchestra (Tadeusz Strugala, conductor), George Enescu Philharmonic of Bucharest (Christian Mandeal, conductor), Royal Philharmony London (Yuri Simonov), Spain Camerata (Tobias Gossmann), London ensemble with Vasko Vassilev all of which have been extraordinarily successful.  In 2005, Fujiko performed at a charity concert at the Budokan in Tokyo in front of an audience of 13,000, which was the maximum capacity; over 10 million yen were donated to UNICEF from this concert.  Later that year, Fujiko had an extremely successful concert with Mischa Maisky which drew in an audience of 5000 people.

Fujiko's international concerts include her June 2001 recital at Carnegie Hall (with Artis-Quartet Vienna), which had an audience of 3,000 people.  She performed in Paris, London, Milan, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Stockholm, Moscow, Budapest, Hamburg, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in 2002 and 2004.  Since 2005, she has been invited by the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra (Yuri Simonov, conductor) to perform concerts regularly in Moscow, and has also been invited by various other orchestras around the world, to perform in such music capitals including: Prague, Örebro (Sweden), Vienna, Nice, Lithuania, Berlin, Hamburg.  International festivals (Paucasals 2008 International Music Festival in Spain, European Music Festival in Bulgaria, etc.) which also continue to extend invitations during 2008 for Fujiko to participate in their programs.

Fujiko is also a gifted painter.  She took an interest in painting and drawing at the same time she was learning to play piano; both her father and her mother's sister were painters.  While on location in Europe, Fujiko can usually be found painting in between tour stops.  She made her art debut in Ginza, Japan in the early 2000s.  The Embassy of Sweden also showcased her portraits in May 2003.  More recently, Fujiko's 20-piece copperplate exhibition was on display in Paris throughout February and March 2009.  Her delicate water-color display marks the cover of Fujiko.

Although Fujiko's performance schedule leaves her with very little free time, she never forgets about her humanitarian obligation Examples of her compassionate nature can be seen in such actions as donating to the victims of 9/11, Afghan refugees, and to UNICEF.  Moreover, her humanitarian passion can be found in the fact that she continues to support and fight for animal rights.  Fujiko makes contributions to UNICEF and animal right groups around the world every year.

Fujiko has just been signed by Domo Records for the world.  This June, 2009, Domo Records will release five titles from Fujiko's catalogue here in the U.S.A. including Echoes Of Eternity; La Campanella; Noctures Of Melancholy, Live At Carnegie Hall, and Liszt: Piano Concerto No.1

All of these recordings have sold a remarkable number of copies.  Four of her CDs have received the Classical Album of the Year award at the Japan Gold Disc Awards, a feat never before accomplished.

With her strikingly unorthodox playing style and such intricate ethnic roots, Fujiko's true home is at the piano.  She is a genuine artist of the world, having performed countless sold-out concerts across Europe and Japan.  In 2004, she dazzled classical audiences in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle.