Masakazu Ito is recognized as one of today’s top guitarists, acclaimed by musicians, composers, conductors, and critics for his mastery of the instrument and its repertoire.
Since his professional debut in Tokyo 1987, Ito has won top prizes in seven major international guitar competitions, including the Andres Segovia International Guitar Competition, the Tokyo International Guitar Competition, the Guitar Foundation of America International Guitar Competition, and the Seto Ohashi International Competition.
Ito’s solo repertoire adeptly spans time and space, embracing works by composers across the globe, from Germany’s J.S. Bach; to Spain’s Moreno-Torroba, Tarrega, Rodrigo, and Llobet; to Japan’s Takemitsu,Read more Yoshimatsu, and Yocoh; to Brazil’s Villa-Lobos and Savio; to his own engaging compositions; and much more.
A recital in Germany marked his 1995 European debut. Ito has performed as a featured soloist with symphony orchestras throughout the United States and Japan. In March of 2003, he was chosen by the Japanese government to celebrate 150 years of US-Japan relations with a solo guitar recital at the official residence of the Japanese Consul General.
Another unique dimension of Ito’s career involves his friendship with popular Japanese musician Kitaro. The two collaborated in an outdoor duo concert in 1991. In 2000, Ito recorded guitar parts for Kitaro’s album, Thinking of You (Domo Records). The recording won a Grammy in January 2001 for Best New Age Album.
Ito is active as a performer, teacher, composer, and recording artist. He currently teaches concert and ensemble guitar at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver.
“Ito displayed conspicuous skill and tonal range ... proved to be a clean, and technically adroit player, whizzing through thorny passages with aplomb.” – Los Angeles Times
“... one of the most musically satisfying I have heard in ages ...” – Classical Guitar Magazine, UK
“... guitarist Masakazu Ito further contributed to the overall spellbinding performance.” – The Denver Post
“... sensitive playing ... technically fluent with impressive control ... vast technique ...” – Soundboard Magazine
“... a complete musician ... Ito’s music is full of musicality, and phrases were carefully treated with immaculate tone. Overall balance and tempo selections were perfect and technical stability and flair is first-rate.” – Gendai Guitar Magazine
“Masakazu Ito is one of the most exciting guitarists to emerge in recent years. He has it all: virtuosity, musicality and flair. He is certainly a name to watch.” - Ricardo Iznaola, Guitarist and Composer
“A splendid player.” – John Duarte, Music Critic and Composer
“He is a highly sensitive musician with a deep understanding of his instrument and the music he plays.” – Douglas Bostock, Musical Director and Principal Conductor, Carlsbad Symphony Orchestra, Czech Republic
“I cannot help but be impressed by his accomplishments and his refinement. He must surely be considered as one of the finest of a new generation of guitarists to emerge in recent time.” – Gilbert Biberian, Guitarist and Composer Read less
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