A Japanese native, Katsuko Tanaka moved to New York City in 2008 in order to immerse herself in the culture and traditions of American jazz music. Since relocating Katsuko has been privileged to share the stage with internationally acclaimed jazz musicians, leading her bands locally and abroad that have showcased artists like Willie Jones III, Gene Jackson, Victor Lewis, Lonnie Plaxico, Essiet Okon Essiet, and many upcoming young stellar.

She had taken classical piano lesson, sight reading, and ear training from the age of three at YAMAHA music school OSAKA. After she was invited to play with the Japanese jazz-fusion group Doppo & Azoth for the Japan Expo in California, she continued to study classical piano at the Osaka College of Music but hoped for an opportunity to live in the States. She received a Rotary International Foundation scholarship to study classical piano at California State University, Long Beach. At CSULB she was awarded Jean Louise Boggess Scholarship, Mary E. Israel Scholarship, and State Paid Lessons. Being inspired by live jazz in America, Katsuko started to take private jazz lessons from Kei Akagi, Cecilia Coleman, and Brad Mehldau. After received her BA in classical piano performance, she returned Japan and started her jazz career.

After moving to NY, in 2009 she recorded her debut album BEYOND INTERSECTION, featuring Willie Jones III, Danton Boller, and a guest appearance by Antonio Hart. The CD features her original compositions, and is released in May 2010, the same month she received an MA in jazz piano performance from Queens College CUNY. She was commissioned to conduct a jazz performance and workshop sponsored by C.A.S.A. at El Museo Del Barrio Theater for 120 students in 2013, and gained a high reputation.

Katsuko carries with her a blend of cultural perspectives that have continued to grow and evolve. WISH BOARD showcases this unique viewpoint, with her dynamic, elegant sound skillfully and soulfully accompanied by Corcoran Holt and Willie Jones III. With a release date of August 20th, 2016, WISH BOARD is a strong follow-up that exhibits pianist and composer Katsuko Tanaka’s continuing musical and personal journey as she navigates the New York music scene.