A native of Kobe, Tsugumi YAMAMOTO was drawn to the koto naturally, while listening to her grandmother who was quite fond of the instrument.
She initially studied 13 and 17 string koto as well as shamisen with Ayako KARIYA, and now holds master teaching licenses in koto and shamisen(Souryuken, Diashihan) with the Ikuta-ryu Shingen-sha.
From 1990, for a period of seven years Tsugumi was under the tutelage of Katsuhiko YOSHIZAKI.
During that time, she began her performance career in Tokyo and also graduated with the 39th class from the NHK (national broadcasting company) training program for young musicians of traditional Japanese instruments.
Within a period of five years, Yamamoto produced and performed ten feature concerts.
Then as an intern with the Japanese Ministry of Cultural Affairs’ Artist Training Program she began her study of the 25 string kotowith Souju NOSAKA. For the one year internship, Tsugumi focused on the works of contemporary composers such as Akira IFUKUBE, Minoru MIKI and Yoshiro IRINO, and performed a culminating recital.
With the 25 string koto forming the core of her performance work, Yamamoto is active commissioning and performing new works at festivals and other events.
Her collaborators include a variety of composers such as KumikoTAKAHASHI, Keizo MIZOIRI, TakatomiNOBUNAGA, Ippo TSUBOI, Kazuyuki TAGUCHI and Aki MORI.
With their focus on Spoken Word, Song and Koto, the TSUGUKAJI-KOTO unit toured under the auspices of Japan Foundation to four US cities in 2009.
This included a performance at theAssociation of Performing Arts Presenters / New York arts conference and marketplace.
The two member unit has performed abroad yearly since then and in 2014 they collaborated with artists for a ten city North American tour.
Tsugumi also works with Ensemble Ho’ in the Kansai area.
While not tied to a particular genre, Yamamoto is most interested in the freedom of expression that improvisation, song and spoken word bring to hermusic.