Naoko Takada was born in Tokyo, Japan. Her 2004-2005 season started with Paul Newmans Gala Event where she had a stage with Hollywood stars Bruce Willis, Meryl Streep, Danny Glover and others. She appeared as a soloist with many orchestras including Houston Symphony; China National Symphony Orchestra, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, SanAngelo Symphony, DuPage Symphony; Tokyo Symphony Orchestra; Tokyo Chamber Orchestra; Xalapa Symphony (Mexico).
She had appeared in many mass media including WQXR (NY radio), WGBH (Boston radio) , LA Japanese radio, RTHK (Hong Kong radio). In 2003, she had a showcase concert at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Kentucky. In 2004, she appeared as a guest performer in the Belgium International Marimba Festival. She had taught masterclasses in Veracruzana del Universidad in Mexico, China Central Conservatory of Music in China and many universities throughout the USA along her solo concert tour. In 2002, she was an instructor of marimba at the Ju Percussion Groups Summer Camp in Taipei, Taiwan. In 2003, she taught marimba at KOSA International Workshops and Festival at Vermont, USA. She will be at Nancy Zeltsman Marimba Festival this summer. Naoko Takada is a Yamaha performing artist and an endorser of Encore Mallets, Inc. She now resides in Los Angeles and Tokyo where she works with private students in her spare time.
She won First Prize in the Young Concert Artist International Audition and also awarded the Beracasa Foundation Prize. She had a debut at the Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall, Tokyo, 92nd Street Y in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and the Gardena Museum in Boston. Her successful recitals were reviewed in many newspapers and magazines. Her other awards include First Prize in the nationally known Ima Hogg National Young Artist Competition, the Sorantin Young Artist award International competition, and the Japan International League of Artists Competition.
At the age of eight, Naoko began studying marimba with Akiko Suzuki. Naoko attended Tokyo Metropolitan International High School, majoring in International Studies. In 1995, she went to Waseda University, where she majored in Psychology. In 1996, she gave her first solo marimba recital in Tokyo. In 1996-97, she was selected to be an exchange student to the United States, and received a full scholarship to study percussion with Karen Ervin-Pershing at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). During her time as an exchange student, she won the CSUN Concerto Competition and the CSUN California Music Scholarship. She also won the Larrie Londin Memorial Scholarship from the Percussive Arts Society. In 1997, she officially changed her major to Music Performance. That year, she won the Music Etude Endowment from CSUN and the Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI) Best Instrumentalist Scholarship. She was presented with her award at the SAI Winners Recital in California. After her graduation from California State University Northridge, she earned her MM at Ithaca College under the instruction of Gordon Stout, an internationally famous marimba player. She received a scholarship and an assistantship from Ithaca College. As part of her assistantship at Ithaca, she was given the opportunity of teaching a percussion course, fulfilling her dream of becoming a teacher. After completing her MM at Ithaca, Takada studied with Nancy Zeltsman in Boston.