Japanese harpist Naoko Yoshino was born in London, and started her harp studies with Susann McDonald at the age of six in Los Angeles. In 1981, she received the Second Prize at the First International Harp Competition in Rome. In 1985, at the age of seventeen, she was the First Prize Winner at the Ninth International Harp Contest in Israel.
Naoko Yoshino’s solo engagements with the world’s top orchestras have included the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Concentus Musicus Wien. Renowned conductors with whom she has shared the stage include Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Zubin Mehta, Pierre Boulez, Herbert Blomstedt, Yehudi Menuhin, Frühbeck de Burgos, and Seiji Ozawa. She has given solo recitals in New York, Vienna, London, and Tokyo, among other cities around the world.
Naoko Yoshino has been invited to numerous prestigious music festivals, such as the Lucerne, Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Marlboro, and Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festivals. Through chamber music, she has worked closely with such renowned musicians as violinist Gidon Kremer, violists Veronika Hagen and Nobuko Imai, cellist Clemens Hagen, flutists Aurèle Nicolet, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Wolfgang Schulz, Emmanuel Pahud, and horn player Radek Baborák.
As an advocate of new repertoire for the harp, Naoko Yoshino has premiered many works, including Toru Takemitsu' s "And then I knew 'twas Wind", Toshio Hosokawa' s Harp Concerto "Re-turning", Yuji Takahashi' s "Insomnia", and Ami Maayani' s "Sonata No.2" for solo harp.
Recordings to date include releases on the Teldec, Philips, Sony Classical, and Virgin Classics labels. In 2015, Naoko Yoshino released a Harp Concerto album from the Aparté label. The same year, she also started recording for her own private label "grazioso" . The first two albums from this new "grazioso" label: "Harp Recital - Favorite Masterpieces and more…" and "Harp Recital II - Sonata / Suite / Variations" , were met with much acclaim, and the third album "Harp Recital III – Schumann / Schubert / Mozart / Mendelssohn / Brahms / Bach" was released in February of 2018.
Prizes achieved include: 1988, Arts Festival Prize (Japan Agency for Cultural Affairs); 1989: Mobil Music Award for Brilliant Young Musicians; 1991, Avon Awards to Women (Arts division).