Ueno Kohei


Ueno Kohei was born in Tokai Village, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. He started playing the saxophone in a brass band at the age of 8 and graduated from the Department of Instrumental Music at Tokyo University of the Arts. Ueno won First Prize in the saxophone division and Grand Prix at the 28th Japan Wind and Percussion Competition (youngest in history). In 2014, he won Second Prize at the 6th Adolphe Sax International Competition. Through the local media reports, it became a hot topic in Japan too. Conductor Kazuki Yamada said, “I thought Kohei was not just an ordinary saxophonist: I knew it after hearing just one note!” Keith Lockhart, music director and conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, said, “I have never heard the saxophone sound like this. I was so surprised as it was really eyepopping!” Since his debut, Ueno has always tried new programs to maximize the potential of the saxophone. Currently, he holds the top position among young artists in Japan. In addition to performing activities, he has also appeared in the media such as the host of NHK-FM’s “× (multiply) Classic” and TV programs “Untitled Concert” and “Jonetsu-tairiku (Passion Continent).” Ueno is also active as concertmaster of the saxophone quartet “The Rev Saxophone Quartet” and “Panda Wind Orchestra”. His latest solo album is “Message to Adolf II.” He is the winner of the 28th Idemitsu Music Award for FY 2017 and also received the 9th Iwatani Tokiko Award Encouragement Prize in 2018. In addition to music, he loves railroads and cars and continues to pursue them deeply.