Martha Kato

Born and raised in Nagoya, Japan, Martha doesn't even remember when she started playing music, but before she was born she was already listening to her mother's piano playing and singing. She started taking classical piano lessons at age of three, and composition lessons at six. She has been on the stage and making recordings since childhood. Her reputation as a pianist, accompanist, and composer has steadily grown with every performance. Her interest was not only in classical music, but also world music, pops, gospel and jazz. Discovering Bill Evans during her senior year at high school, she shifted her focus from classical music to jazz.

As soon as she graduated from high school in 2008, she started performing at jazz clubs in Nagoya. In 2009, she moved to New York where she began her studies on a scholarship at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. She has studied with Kevin Hays, Robert Sadin, Reggie Workman, Hal Galper, Aaron Goldberg, George Cables, Sam Yahel, Doug Weiss, Ari Hoenig, Ben Street, and others. Soon after she started performing at venues in and around NYC such as Smalls Jazz Club, Dizzy's Club, The Jazz Gallery and Blue Note. After graduating from The New School in 2013, she also received a scholarship from The Juilliard School for the Masters Program of Jazz Studies where she studied with Kenny Baron. In 2014, she had a performance with her own trio at Blues Alley in Washington DC during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. She has been performing not only in the States but also in Europe including Bern International Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Slovenia, Italy and Denmark. She was also one of the few participants accepted to the Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Emerging Artist Workshop at the Kennedy Center in 2011. She has a breadth of knowledge in classical composition and jazz language and is bringing that to composition. Recently her piece "After The Rain" received an honorable mention for the 2012 ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Awards. Her new composition "Frostwork" won the 2014 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. She is a second place winner of Montreux Jazz Solo Piano Competition in Kawasaki 2014.