Starting at the age of 9, Yoshiko Tsuruta learned Marimba privately from Yukiko Sano in Japan. After relocating to New Zealand in 2004, she graduated from the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington in music performance in 2010, having studied under Bruce McKinnon, Laurence Reese, Bud Jones and Jeremy Fitzsimons. She moved to Austria in 2010 and has completed her Master’s Degree (1st Class) at the Anton Bruckner Privatuniversität in Linz. There she studied marimba with Bogdan Bacanu and percussion with Leonhard Schmidinger.
Yoshiko has won several prizes both in Japan and New Zealand, including the 1st prizes in both the New Zealand School of Music Concerto Competition and the New Zealand National Concerto Competition, and the Brass/Percussion Prize in Gisborne Competition. She reached the semi-final of the International Marimba Competition in Salzburg in 2012. Most recently, she received the 2nd prize and all the extra prizes at the International Australian Marimba Competition in 2016.
As a soloist, Yoshiko has performed marimba concertos with many orchestras. In 2018, she world-premiered the new marimba concerto by Gareth Farr and most recently, she recorded the marimba concerto "Djinn" by John Psathas with Orchestra Wellington in 2021.
She also appears in orchstras, such as New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Orchestra Wellington.
Since returning from Europe Yoshiko endeavours to promote classical percussion in New Zealand, especially the marimba. As one of the very few dedicated “marimbists” in the country, she gives solo performances as well as chamber music with various artists. In 2016 and 2019,
she successfully toured throughout the county for Chamber Music New Zealand.
Her repertoire includes new commissions from various composers and her own arrangements, with which she explores the expressive possibilities of the marimba beyond the stereotype as a percussion instrument.
Yoshiko teaches and gives master classes/workshops on different occasions. She was invited as
an adjudicator for the National Brass Band Championships for the percussion solo/ensemble
section in 2013 and 2019, and for the NZCT Chamber Music Contest in 2019.
… elegance, in complete control of every movement, and hence of every sound of every musical, mesmerising, moment…”
...Tsuruta’s playing is all about the phrasing, conveying the truth and inner meaning of the music to the listener.”