Born and raised in Nagoya, Japan, Martha Kato is a pianist, composer and arranger in her blossoming career in New York.
Based in New York since 2009, she has performed across the world as a bandleader and collaborator at major venues such as Blue Note, Jazz Standard, Nagoya Blue Note, Motion Blue Yokohama, The Jazz Gallery, Dizzy’s Club, Smoke Jazz & Supper Club and Smalls Jazz Club. Playing in a wide range of styles and instrumentations, she has shared the stage and studio-recording with collaborators including Remy Le Boeuf, Miho Hazama, Alexis Cuadrado, Jonathan Powell and Pedro Giraudo.
Her debut album Tales from The Trees (Somethin' Cool, 2016) has highlighted her brilliance both in playing and writing, featuring the 8-piece band with her vocals which add a unique taste to the ensemble. Mixed flavors from music of West Africa, South America, Jazz and classical music, her music keeps the weight of improvisation and composition in an interesting balance. The album was elected for Jazz Life Disc Grand Prix, category of New Stars by Japanese jazz magazine Jazz Life.
Her recent work includes some big band commissions. The big band arrangement of her composition After The Rain won the 1st place at Yamano Big Band Contest in 2017 performed by Keio Light Society Music.
Martha’s awards and honors include the ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award (2012), ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award (2014) and she is a second-place winner of Montreux Jazz Solo Piano Competition in Kawasaki 2014. She was a scholarship recipient of The Juilliard School and The New School, where she studied with Kenny Baron, Kevin Hays, Robert Sadin, Reggie Workman and more. She has a bachelor’s degree from The New School.