Makiko Hirabayashi – pianist/composer

Makiko Hirabayashi is a Japanese/Danish pianist and composer, based in Copenhagen since 1990. She has received wide critical acclaim as a personal voice on the international jazz scene since the release of her first trio album in 2006, featuring Marilyn Mazur (Miles Davis Group, Jan Garbarek Group) and Klavs Hovman. This trio has toured extensively throughout Europe and Asia over the last 15 years.

Her latest quartet album, “Weavers” won the prestigious award, Jazz Album Of The Year at Danish Music Awards 2021. This project, featuring some of the leading figures of the Scandinavian music scene, (Fredrik Lundin-Thommy Andersson-Bjørn Heebøll) sees her expanding her musical universe with a fresh approach. Keeping the collective, creative force at its core, Weavers explore new paths in music, balancing between strong lyricism and abstract soundscapes.

Makiko Hirabayashi has released eight albums as a leader, including four with her trio, a duo album with Bob Rockwell and a trio album with Flemming Agerskov and Francesco Cali. She was the recipient of the Honorary Award from the Danish Composers Association in 2020.

Since the beginning of her career, Makiko has worked with a wide range of musicians, both on the jazz scene and the world music scene. As a sidewoman, she plays an active role in numerous projects led by Marilyn Mazur, and has worked with many of Europe’s top notch musicians, including Enrico Rava, Norma Winstone and Nils Petter Molvær.

Makiko Hirabayashi was born 1966 in Tokyo, Japan, where she started playing piano at the age of 4. Spending 5 years of her formative years in Hong Kong – a cultural melting pot 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. Her original intention to study film scoring quickly shifted towards improvising and composing, as she found herself immersed in the live jazz scene of Boston. 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 moods are all molded into an intriguing, compelling sound of her own.


•  Jazz Album Of The Year for “Weavers” at Danish Music Awards 2021

• Honorary Award from DJBFA (Danish Composers Association)

2022, 2021, 2020, 2007-2017
• Danish Arts Foundation’s grant for artistic work

• Best Instrumental Album 2009 for “Hide And Seek”
(Jazz Critique Magazine, Japan)

• Jazz Melody Award for title track “Hide And Seek”
(Jazz Critique Magazine, Japan)

• Best Arrangement, Audience Choice Award, 3rd Prize with group, Sisters at Europ’ Jazz Contest, Bruxelles

Japanese Biography