Nao Higano originates from the Japanese district of Chiba near Tokyo. She studied opera and concert singing at the Department of Vocal Music at the Seitoku University (1984-89). She continued her studies as a scholarship holder at the Department of Singing at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts Bratislava (1990-1995). She attended master classes led by Y. Hayashi, G. Benackova, S. Koptchak, P. Dvorsky, D. Iordachescu and P. de Napoli. Furthermore, she has increased her qualifications by her doctorate studies at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts Bratislava in the class of doc. Peter Mikulas. She graduated with her dissertation theses “Interpretation Problems of the Vocal and Opera Works by A. Schoenberg“ and obtained the title “Artis Doctor”.
Nao Higano gives vocal concerts and opera performances in many European countries; she has introduced herself successfully at many international musical festivals, and she records for musical broadcast and TV stations (ORF, Hungarian Radio, Czech Radio, Slovak Radio, CT and STV) and for musical publishing.
During her solo recitals, she performed songs, song cycles and chamber works. Nao Higano also devotes herself to oratorio, mass and cantata literature. She cooperates with several orchestras and chamber groups (Slovak Philharmonic, B. Warchal’s Slovak Chamber Orchestra, Slovak Radio Symphonic Orchestra, Czech Radio Symphonic Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, State Philharmonic Kosice, State Chamber Orchestra Zilina, Moyzes’ quartet etc.) She performed her song recitals in Prague Rudolfinum, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and in other prestigious halls.
She has cooperated with famous celebrities, e.g. Z. Nagy, P. Gribanov, M. Sasson, M. Maurer, A. Fornaciari, L. G. Visser, H. Engels, T. Maeda, H. Kubota, S. Macura, L. Svarovsky, P. Vronsky, J. Krcek, J. Petrdlik, V. Malek, E. Danel, P. Feranec, R. Stur, D. Stefanek, M. Vach, K. Kevicky, P. Tuzinsky, M. Osvald, M. Lejava, M. Kosler, B. Juhanakova, L. Horasek, S. Sedlicky, E. Prochac, J. Malik, S. Capova-Vyzvary, L. Marcinger, D. Varinska, I. Gajan, M. Stefko, Z. Cizmarovicova, E. Mazanovska, K. Jurkovicova, P. Pazicky, J. Nagy-Juhasz, P. Cerman, D. Sasinova, S. Kayahara, T. Nakamura, H. Watanabe, T. Asahina, V. Lackova, V. Bartosova, Z. Biscakova, I. Sokol, M. Vrabel, Z. Ferjencikova, J. Podhoransky, J. Slavik, R. Sasina, J. Zsapka, J. Figura, F. Torok, V. Harvan, P. Mihalica, P. Krajniak, E. Ginzery, P. Drlicka etc.
Nao Higano obtained first prize by the Yamaha Foundation and the Slovak Music Fund’s concert awards for her concert activities (1998 – 2003).
She was the permanent guest of the Slovak National Theatre from 1999 to 2004 where one of her most significant roles was “Woman” in Schoenberg’s monodrama Erwartung.
She has paid special attention to studying Slovak vocal compositions, focused on masterpieces of contemporary composers. She premiered their compositions in European countries as well as in Japan. Her rich repertoire stretches from Renaissance to 21st century music. She is focused mainly on Slovak and German vocal compositions and 20th century music.
Nao Higano keeps improving her artistic and performing qualities and she has been working pedagogically for 10 years successfully. She was a member of the jury at the International Singing Competition in Zdar nad Sazavou in 2008.