Hailed by critics as "an extraordinary pianist who promises to become a legend in this new century," pianist Rachel Kudo has been captivating audiences with her "stunning virtuosity" and "miracle of flawless technique and expressive versatility" as recitalist, soloist and chamber musician.
Rachel made her orchestral debut at age sixteen performing Tchaikovsky's First Concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and later that year, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain. Rachel has since appeared as a soloist with the Warsaw Philharmonic in Poland, RTE National Symphony Orchestra in Ireland, the Reno Philharmonic, Kalisz Philharmonic, and the Ars Viva, Montgomery, Fort Collins, Southwest Florida, Northbrook, Everett, Oak Park, Southwest Michigan, El Camino Youth, and Fukui orchestras.
At the age of fourteen, Rachel made her recital debut at the International Chopin Festival in Duszniki-Zdroj, Poland. Various recital appearances have further taken her to venues including Chopin's birth house "Zelazowa Wola", Lazienki Park, and the Royal Castle in Poland, the Stradivarius Museum in Cremona, Salle Cortot in Paris, Aspen Music Festival, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, Strathmore Mansion in Washington D.C., and Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in New York. Rachel has also made numerous appearances as a guest artist at the Tivoli International Festival in Copenhagen, the Bergen International Festival in Norway, "New Names of the 21st Century" International Music Festival in Russia, the Nagoya International Youth Music Festival in Japan, and the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in the United States.
Winner of the prestigious 2008 Gilmore Young Artist Award, Rachel has also received international recognition as the only American finalist at the Fifteenth International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and as a prizewinner in the Toronto, Dublin, Hilton Head, and U.S. National Chopin Piano Competitions. Her impressive list of awards include the Salon de Virtuosi Award, I.M.A. Music Award of Japan, a Level I Award at the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts' Arts Recognition and Talent Search, was named a Davidson Fellow Laureate by the Davidson Institute of Talent Development, and was a scholarship recipient of the Rohm Music Foundation in Japan.
While studying at the Juilliard School, Rachel was named recipient of the 2007 Chopin Prize and was a consecutive winner of two Gina Bachauer International Piano Competitions. As recipient of the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship, she was invited to collaborate in various chamber music performances in New York, Japan, and at the Musikverein in Vienna. Rachel additionally awarded top honors as the school's recipient of the 2009 Arthur Rubinstein Prize and the 2011 Juilliard/Sanders/Tel Aviv Museum Recital Prize.
As an enthusiastic chamber musician, Rachel has received the silver medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Rachel has also been invited to participate in two Carnegie Hall's Professional Training Workshops, which culminated in masterclasses and concerts at Carnegie Hall, with pianist Emanuel Ax, conductor David Zinman, and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and most recently with pianist Andras Schiff.
Born in Washington D.C. to Japanese-Korean parents, Rachel began studying piano at the age of four with the late Emilio del Rosario at the Music Institute of Chicago, with additional studies under Kum-Sing Lee of the Vancouver Music Academy. She studied with Yoheved Kaplinsky and Joseph Kalichstein at the Juilliard School, with Richard Goode at the Mannes College of Music, and currently with Gilbert Kalish at Stony Brook University.
To learn more about Rachel (also known as Naomi), please visit her website.
Rachel was awarded the Second Prize in the National Chopin Competition in Miami, Florida on March 1, 2015! She wins both $35,000 and automatic acceptance into the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, Poland in April, 2015.