imagination is the key!
“Whether she is performing her own music or the music of others, Aya Kato plays with an energy and a technical inventiveness that is beautiful to witness. As she plays, one can truly hear and feel that for Aya, music represents a direct entry into the world of the imagination. In one moment Aya plays in a way that evokes a warm, introspective feeling, and in the next moment her playfulness emerges and you can’t help but smile. When you combine the emotional breadth of her arrangements with her technical expertise on the piano, you can not only hear imagination present in every note, but there is also a feeling that anything–in music or in life–is possible.”
—John DeLore, singer-songwriter & poet living in Brooklyn, NY
“A very talented and dedicated pianist”
—Portals of Wonder
In addition to composing and performing her own musical works, Aya is very active in the New York City music scene, lending her talents on the piano and keyboards to a wide variety of musical projects.
Originally from Tajimi, Japan, Aya’s passion for music started early in life. She started taking piano lessons at the age of three, she took classes in composition at age six, and between the ages of eight and ten she learned traditional Japanese drumming, modern drumming, and electric bass. Aya continued her study of classical music at a well respected music high school in Nagoya, Japan, and while there she performed numerous concerts as a solo pianist.
In 1999, she moved to Tokyo to study Jazz theory at a professional music school. While in Tokyo, one of Aya’s teachers was Mrs. Hiroko Kokubu, a well known jazz pianist, composer, and arranger in Japan.
In January 2001, Aya moved to the United States to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where she majored in Jazz composition and studied composition/arranging under Ken Pullig, Bob Pilkington, Scott Free and Jazz piano under Alex Elin.
Shortly after graduating from Berklee in May of 2003, Aya moved to New York City to pursue her career as both a performance musician and a composer. Since then, she has been very active in the New York music scene, playing with a wide variety of musicians at various venues. Among her highlights, Aya has performed at Shea Stadium (Meet the Jumpers Orchestra), BAM Cafe (Erin and Her Cello), Joe’s Pub (Erin and Her Cello, Meta and the Cornerstones), Irving Plaza (Rev. John DeLore), Summer Stage in Central Park (Jo Black and Bolomba Stylee), Hard Rock Cafe (Savilian), Global Fest 2010 (Meta and the Cornerstones), Celebrate Brooklyn (Meta and Cornerstones), Winter Garden of World Financial Center (New York African Chorus Ensemble), and the Copacabana (Hot Lavender Swing).
Aya composed the music for a Japanese company called ‘Lead.’ She also composed music for the independent film, “It’s All Good”, which played at several film festival acrros the United States. She worked as the musical director for various musicals, including “Let’s Be Frank,” “Chuck and Ginger: Thawed For Your Pleasure,” “Aguinaldo,” “Delilah Dix,” as well as for the “New York African Chorus Ensemble.”
As a band leader, Aya did a live interview and performance with her band Merry and Tomato that aired on the New York Public Radio program “Fair Game with Faith Salie.” She also played keyboard with the band Meta and the Cornerstones on their live performance on WNYC’s daily music program “Soundcheck with John Schaefer.”