“Fujita is a musician of tremendous versatility and taste, with a poetic sense of pulse and eloquent, insightful, fearless articulation.” — The Times
On October 7, Sony Classical will release Mao Fujita’s eagerly-anticipated studio recording of Mozart’s complete piano sonatas in a five-album CD box set and digitally. A significant undertaking for any pianist, this project also marks the rising piano star’s Sony Classical debut. Described by The Times of London as “a musician of tremendous versatility and taste, with a poetic sense of pulse,” Fujita signed an exclusive contract with Sony Classical in 2021, following a solo debut at the Verbier Festival performing the same set of works.
Of the series, the French magazine Toute la Culture praised Fujita for his sense of joy that came through in “interpretations of incredible intimacy.” Upending the image of Mozart’s music as written down fully-formed and without correction, Fujita approaches these sonatas with the understanding that Mozart, a pianist himself, often improvised during his own performances of the works and treated the scores as starting points for improvisation and embellishment. “He didn’t always play what he wrote,” the pianist explains of the composer. “When I play Mozart’s sonatas only according to what he wrote, it’s quite boring. We can, instead, do something special.” Toute la Culture commended this as well: “With a sound of pure, astonishing beauty, he inserts imaginative riffs here and there, but always with a respect for the classical style.”
Mozart’s 18 piano sonatas offer a unique musical biography of the composer. Written between 1774 and 1789, they span nearly all of his adult life: the earliest dating back to when he was 18, the last composed just two years before his death in 1791. So far in Fujita’s career, they’ve also become an integral part of the increasingly in-demand pianist’s own musical biography: He took silver medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2019 in part thanks to his performance of the Piano Sonata No. 10 (K. 330). This, in turn, was inspired by Vladimir Horowitz’s 1986 recital in Moscow where, at the same hall used for the Tchaikovsky Competition, he played the same piece. Years later, it was watching the video recording of this concert (also released by Sony Classical) that inspired Fujita to take up piano.
His success in Moscow, building on several awards won in 2017 (while he was still a student) at the prestigious Concours International de Piano Clara Haskil in Switzerland, catapulted the Tokyo-born Fujita’s career. He has given recitals at Fondation Louis Vuitton as part of the organization's “New Generation Piano” series as well as at major international festivals including the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, and Verbier, Tsinandali and Riga-Jurmala Festivals, among others. Fujita has been invited to appear in recital at London’s Wigmore Hall at the end of the 22/23 season to perform the complete Mozart Piano Sonatas interspersed with sets of Variations over five concerts. Recent orchestral debuts have included the Royal Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, and Filarmonica della Scala Orchestras under the batons of Vasily Petrenko, Christoph Eschenbach, and Riccardo Chailly, respectively. Fujita reunites with Chailly for his debuts at the Lucerne Festival this Summer and with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Spring 2023. Other upcoming orchestral highlights include debuts with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under Marek Janowski and with Konzerthaus Berlin under Eschenbach.
Throughout these high-profile engagements, Fujita’s performances continue to draw audiences into the music through a personal and intimate style—complemented by a sense of roving curiosity and delight that comes from constantly discovering new aspects of the music, sometimes during a performance. It was in this spirit that Mozart: The Complete Piano Sonatas was recorded in Berlin under ideal conditions. With innate musical sensitivity and naturalness, Fujita lets every note speak with vitality, wit, and charm.
Mao Fujita – Mozart: The Complete Piano Sonatas is out now.