Naoko Yoshino is presently regarded as one of the most skilled harpists in the world.
Born in London, she began learning harp at the age of six from Susann McDonald. She took her first steps in her international career in 1981 when she got second prize in the 1st International Harp Contest at the Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome, and in 1985 when she came in first place in the 9th International Harp Contest in Israel, where she was the youngest participant.
Yoshino's solo engagements with the world's top Western and Japanese orchestras have included the Berlin Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic, Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Concentus Musicus Wien, and the NHK Symphony Orchestra, among others. Illustrious conductors with whom she has shared the stage include Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Zubin Mehta, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Yehudi Menuhin, Seiji Ozawa, Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Tadaaki Otaka, Michiyoshi Inoue, and Yuzo Toyama. She has also performed as a soloist with renowned ensembles such as the English Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonic Virtuoso Berlin, Jean-Fran?ois Paillard Chamber Orchestra, the Mito Chamber Orchestra, the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra; and she has held solo recitals in numerous cities around the world, including New York, Vienna, London and Tokyo. Her performance at the Vatican in 1994 in a concert commemorating the restoration of the Sistine chapel received particularly significant attention. A frequent guest at the Salzburg, Lockenhaus, Lucerne, Gstaad, Schleswig-Holstein, Saito Kinen, Marlboro, and Mostly Mozart Festivals, Naoko Yoshino is also known as a recitalist and chamber musician.
She has in fact worked extensively in chamber music, having played with violinist Gidon Kremer; violists Veronika Hagen and Nobuko Imai; cellist Clemenst Hagen; and flutists Aur?le Nicolet, Wolfgang Schulz and Emmanuel Pahud. She also has a lively recording career, having released one album on Teldec (with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Concentus Musicus Wien), four albums on Philips Classics (two solo, one chamber with Nicolet and Nobuko Imai, one with Gidon Kremer featuring solos and duos), five albums on Sony Classics (solo, duets with Shigenori Kudo, concertos with the Philharmonic Virtuoso Berlin), and an album on Virgin Classics with the English Chamber Orchestra. She is devoted to new music as well, having performed the world premieres of Ami Maayani's Sonata No. 2, Yuzo Toyama's Fantasy, Toru Takemitsu's And Then I Knew T'was Wind, and Yuji Takahashi's Insomnia, and she is scheduled to record both the Takemitsu and Takahashi works. In March 2001, she performed the world premiere of Toshio Hosokawa's Toshio Hosokawa's harp concerto Re-turning.
In recent years, she has performed under Harnoncourt with the Concentus Musicus Wien, Blomstedt with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Boulez with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, and since being invited by Abbado in 2003, she has been performing with the top soloists from around the world who make up the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.
She received the Arion Award in 1985, the Muramatsu Award in 1987, honorable mention at the ExxonMobil Music Awards, the Education Minister's Incentive Award for Young Artists from the Agency for Cultural Affairs, and the AVON Arts Award for women. An alumna of International Christian University.