Simon Cosgrove


Was born in England and studied music at Cambridge University after gaining national acclaim as a prizewinner in the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. He won the prestigious Daiwa Scholarship in 2003 and moved to Tokyo, where he studied Japanese language and traditional music. He soon made an impact on the Tokyo jazz scene and is in constant demand as a saxophonist, pianist, composer, arranger and educator. He has released three albums under his own name, most recently as leader of Tokyo Jazz Seven, and has performed with such acclaimed artists as the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Jamie Cullum and Duran Duran. In 2014 his group was invited to play at the Manly Jazz Festival in Sydney, and he also performed at the Jus Jazz Festival 2013 in India. Simon is currently an in-house musician at the Maduro lounge in Tokyo, as well as Assistant Professor at Joshibi University. Since 2017 he has appeared on TV and in concert with Japanese superstar Seiko Matsuda. He released his fourth album as leader Simon Cosgrove meets the Okazaki Bros in July 2019.

Mayuko Katakura


Born in Sendai, Japan, into a family of jazz musicians, Katakura has jazz in her DNA. She began playing piano at age five, and studied mostly classical music throughout her childhood. After entering Senzoku Gakuen Junior College in Japan, she started studying jazz piano. Katakura was awarded a scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music, and moved to Boston in 2002. While attending there, she performed with great musicians such as Jerry Bergonzi, Dick Oatts, Dave Santoro, Cristian Scott, and many more. In 2004, she performed at Blue Note New York as a member of the Berklee Scholarship Jazz Group. She moved to New York after graduation and got a full scholarship to enter the Juilliard School where she studied with Kenny Barron. She had various opportunities to perform with musicians such as Jimmy Heath, Wynton Marsalis, Carl Allen, Ben Wolf, Benny Green, Donald Harrison, Victor Goines, and many more. She got first place in Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Pianist Competition in 2006, and she was invited to perform with her trio in the festival the following year. Also, she was a semi finalist in Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competiton in 2006. Katakura came back to Japan in 2008 and became involved in the Tokyo jazz scene. Right after she came back, she performed in Korea and Japan as a member of "Juilliard Jazz Ensemble" with Carl Allen and Ron Blake. Her debut album "Inspiration" received the New Star Award in 2009. She has performed with musicians such as Kimiko Itoh, Kiyoshi Kitagawa, Hidefumi Toki, Branford Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, Peter Washington, Kenny Washington, and many more. In addition, she currently teaches at Senzoku Gakuen University.

Jonathan Katz


Long Island, New York native Jonathan took up piano at six and French horn at nine. He discovered jazz at 11 and played with Frank Foster and other jazz giants in his teens. He studied music at Yale University and the Eastman School of Music. After studying Japanese at Sophia University, he moved to Tokyo in 1991. Jonathan has worked with famed jazz artists Ray Brown, Kenny Burrell, Lew Tabackin, Tom Harrell and Eddie Henderson, with the NHK Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic and other leading Japanese orchestras, and with enka superstar Itsuki Hiroshi. He has released one solo piano CD and 3 trio CDs, and has toured and recorded as a core member in several other groups, including world-jazz group CANDELA, jazz quartet NYTC, and Latin jazz quintet MAMBO INN. In 2008, Jonathan assembled Tokyo Big Band, a 19-piece ensemble of top Tokyo-based musicians who perform his over 70 compositions and original renditions of Japanese traditional songs. Jonathan is also pianist in the Disney World Beat big band. He has received numerous composing and arranging commissions, including from the Taipei Jazz Orchestra, classical violinist Narimichi Kawabata, and concert pianist Yuko Mifune, and was the bandleader and arranger for bossa nova singer Lisa Ono’s nonet (2019) and quintet (2020). Jonathan is also an avid music educator who has given clinics and guest performances at universities and high schools in Japan, the US and Taiwan, and teaches private lessons as well as clinics in composition, arranging, and big band.

Makoto Kuriya


Born in Kobe, Japan, graduated from West Virginia University with linguistics major, and later studied and performed with Nathan Davis at the University of Pittsburgh. Toured with Grammy winning Chuck Mangione in the late 80's and performed with many jazz legends in the U.S. including Donald Byrd, James Moody, Toots Thielmans and Curtis Fuller. Later performed with Herbie Hancock at "Tokyo Jazz", Japan's largest jazz festival, and in Paris for the "International Music Day" organized by UNESCO with Billy Cobham, John Faddis and Jonny Griffin. Makoto has achieved so many internationally achieved projects in Asia, Europe, Australia and other parts of the world including the special ceremonial performance for 25th year of democracy of Poland at King's Palace, Warsaw. In 2015, appointed by the government to produce a Brazilian tour, performing in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and other cities as a token of Japan and Brazil's 120th year of relationship.  Music was performed in mixture with Japanese and Brasilian top artists including Joyce Moreno.  Same tour to India in 2017.  Kuriya's performance at “Cairo Jazz Festival” became the leading newspaper, Al-Ahram’s front coverage. Since 2005 to present, Kuriya tours Europe every year including countries like France, UK, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Germany and also other parts of the world as Egypt, Taiwan, Australia forming different trios and groups for performance and also holding workshops and active collaborations with local artists all in great success. Makoto Kuriya is also a composer, arranger and producer of various music from Jazz to Pop music, and has recorded for platinum-winning Japanese animation movie "Neo Genesis Evangelion" which became a global success.  Also writing and producing songs for best selling pop artists, and soundtracks for movies. Kuriya has released 20 leader albums to present. Recently, released "Acoustic Weather Report" on Sony Records and marked the best selling Jazz and Fusion CD on Amazon. Currently musical director and band master for TV show "Jazzy Live Show" on NTV-BS.   Also, TV theme music for "News 1930" on BS-TBS

Michal Sobkowiak (Jury Chairman) 


Born in an artistic family in Poland, Michal Sobkowiak made his TV debut on "Akademia muzyczna" series as the most talented young pianist at the age of ten. He has performed at major concert halls and music festivals across the country and abroad, including the prestigious National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw. After graduated from Chopin Academy of Music (currently known as the Frederyk Chopin University of Music) in 1998, he further pursued his postgraduate study at the Zürich Conservatory. His former teachers include Andrzej Jasiński, Teresa Manasterska and Gabriela Weiss. In 1995, he was a prizewinner at the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition (Poland). In 1996, he was given a scholarship from the Frederyk Chopin Society (Warsaw). In 1997, he appeared at the Europe Piano Forum (Berlin, Germany). Not only as a classical pianist, prof. Sobkowiak is also known as a jazz pianist, composer, and a dedicated teacher. In 2002, he performed at the 36th Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland), his latest CD "Jazz Loves Chopin", released in 2017, became number one on the Top 100 Album ranking of the e-onkyo music. In 2018 he starred as a pianist in the Japanese movie, "Hitsuji to Hagane no Mori". Currently, he serves as a professor at Fukushima College and as a lecturer at Showa University of Music. He has been regularly invited as a jury member at PTNA and the International Chopin Piano Competition in ASIA, as well as the jury chairman of European International Piano Concours in Japan. In 2021, he founded the Japan Jazz Pop Piano Competition. In May, 2022, he performed with Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra for a charity concert for Ukraine. 


*The list of jury members is subject to change