Makiko Hirabayashi – pianist/composer

Makiko Hirabayashi is a Japanese pianist/composer, based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Since the release of her first trio album in 2006, Makiko has received wide critical acclaim as a personal voice on the international jazzscene. The freshness of both her compositions and the trio’s vibrant interplay has caught the ears of many listeners around the world. The trio, featuring drummer/percussionist Marilyn Mazur (Miles Davis Group 85-89, Jan Garbarek Group 91-05) and bassist Klavs Hovman has been her main focus in the recent years, where she established her unique sound through performances at major jazz festivals and venues in Europe, her home country, Japan, as well as in countries as far as Egypt and Malaysia.
Makiko Hirabayashi has released 6 albums as a leader, 3 of which are with the trio on the German jazz label, Enja. Their second album, “Hide And Seek” (2009) was a double prize winner in Jazz Critique Magazine, Japan, for both sound and composition. 

Throughout her career, Makiko has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, both on the jazz scene and the world music scene. Her most recent projects include electro/acoustic impro group, Bespeak, and world fusion group, The 4th Power.
Makiko has also collaborated in a duo setting with the American saxophonist, Bob Rockwell, one of the most respected musicians in Denmark. Their debut album “Gong”  was released in March 2016, reflecting the years after Tsunami in Fukushima. Amongst other projects is “Binocular” with trumpet player, Flemming Agerskov and Francesco Cali on accordion. This unusual set of instruments allowed the band to explore new territories in soundscapes and forms of music. They recorded their debut album at the legendary Rainbow Studio in Oslo in 2011, released by Stunt Records the same year.

Makiko Hirabayashi was born 1966 in Tokyo, Japan, where she started playing piano at the age of 4. Spending 5 years of her childhood in Hong Kong – a cultural melting point at the time, has had a lasting impact on her life. At age 20, she won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied for 3 years, absorbing the language of jazz. Since 1990, she has been based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her multicultural background and musical diversity is reflected in her music. Elements of jazz, classical music, Far Eastern music and Nordic sound are all molded uncontrivedly into an intriguing, compelling sound of her own.

Awards/Grants
2010
• Jazz Audio Disk Award -Best Instrumental Album 2009 for “Hide And Seek” (Jazz Critique Magazine, Japan)
• Jazz Melody Award 2009 for title track, “Hide And Seek” (Jazz Critique Magazine, Japan)

2007-2017
• Danish Arts Foundation’s grant for artistic work

1995
• Best Arrangement Prize, Public Prize and 3rd Prize with Sisters at Europ’ Jazz Contest, Bruxelles

Japanese Biography