Since their remarkable debut at the Wigmore Hall London in 1986, Christopher BLACK and Yoko KATAYAMA have excelled in this specialized repertoire receiving unanimous praise and recognition for their outstanding performances and engaging stage presence.
Christopher from Great Britain and Yoko from Japan met in the class of legendary virtuoso pianist Aldo Ciccolini, after both won the prestigious French government scholarship to study at the Conservatoire National Supérieure de Musique in Paris. Postgraduate studies ensued with Jean Hubeau and Geneviève Joy-Dutilleux, both renowned for their considerable knowledge of piano duo and chamber music repertoire, whose guidance was an inspiration for them both. They have worked separately under Lily Kraus (Paris), Maurice Jacobson, Angus Morrison (London), Barbara Hesse-Bukowska (Poland), Gyorgy Sebok (Switzerland), Beatrice Franklova (ex. Prague Conservatory).
The BLACK-KATAYAMA Duo has captivated audiences in halls and cities worldwide with its artistry and compelling interpretations of the great works for the repertoire. They relish introducing to their public an ever-widening two pianos and four hands repertoire always interspersed with the more standard and well loved favourites. This has included giving first performances of works by Bax, Benjamin, Jacobson, Horowitz, Sainsbury, and the rediscovery of many compositions that have been unjustly neglected... amongst those of Villa-Lobos, Arensky, Milhaud, Britten, Copland, Jacobson, Honegger, Ladmirault, Hahn and Yashiro. The pair has a naturally relaxed stage appearance and frequently talks to the audience presenting informatively their programs.
The duo tour frequently in the Far East; Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong-Kong and in Europe; U.K, France, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Italy Spain, Holland as well as South America.
They have been invited as guest artists on many cruise ships, including the Queen Elizabeth II round the world voyage. In 1998, NHK Television made a one hour film of the Duo live in concert that was subsequently televised in Korea, Japan and China.
Coaching is an all important part of their work: they regularly share their own approach to teaching the complex and wonderful art of two pianos in master classes and through private study.
From 1995 up to 2002, Christopher and Yoko directed an International music festival in France. Each season, many prestigious artists from the world of music together with gifted young musicians came together to perform in the historic setting of a 12th century Benedictine Priory.