Ryoko Aoki studied music at the National University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo, with a focus on the Kanze school of noh theatre, before obtaining a PhD at the University of London.
She holds a unique position in the field of noh theatre as a female singer and performer. Ryoko Aoki has performed in several traditional noh plays, historically the reserve of male actors. Above all, she is the pioneer of and inspiration for a new artistic form combining noh with contemporary music. More than 30 works have been written for her by composers including Peter Eötvös, Toshio Hosokawa, Stefano Gervasoni and Oliver Schneller.
The singer and performer has made appearances throughout Asia, Europe and the United States. She has performed with ensembles and orchestras including the Arditti Quartet, the Quatour Diotima and the Münchener Kammerorchester. As a workshop leader, she has worked with the dance company Sasha Waltz & Guests.
In 2013, Ryoko Aoki gave her debut at the Teatro Real de Madrid in Wolfgang Rihm’s opera The Conquest of Mexico. As part of her Noh x Contemporary Music project, she has commissioned a series of new works for Noh singer. Noriko Baba wrote her ‘Nopera’ AOI (2016) especially for the singer, which was premiered with Ensemble 2e2m in Paris and received further performances in Reims and Orléans.
Recently, Ryoko Aoki premiered two works composed for her: Toshio Hosokawa’s Futari Shizuka (The Maiden from the Sea) with Ensemble intercontemporain at the Philharmonie de Paris and Kölner Philharmonie in December 2017, and Federico Gardella’s Two Souls at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in January 2018