Junko Kobayashi was born in Japan, and studied piano with Machiko Asahina and her husband Takashi Asahina, the distinguished conductor. After graduating in music at the Folkwang Universität der Künste, Germany, she went to London to study with Maria Curcio, who had been a pupil of Schnabel, and with the great pianist Louis Kentner, who often played with his brother-in-law, Yehudi Menuhin.
She has given recitals in four continents and all over the Great Britain, and has appeared with many orchestras as a soloist, including the London Philharmonic at the Royal Festival Hall, London.
She lives in London and has played numerous recitals in major recital halls. Between 2007 and 2019, she held an annual recital series in the David Josefowitz Recital Hall in the Royal Academy of Music. Her recitals were rapturously received at the Athenaeum Club in 2017, and, in 2019, at the Chopin Society of London in the Westminster Cathedral Hall, and as a part of Oxford University Alumni Event in the Holywell Music Room.
Her discography includes two sets of sonatas by Beethoven, including the Appassionata and the Waldstein sonatas; and in 2017 she released a CD devoted to works by Chopin, including waltzes, nocturnes, mazurkas the Barcarolle and his great third sonata.
Junko is an official Steinway Artist, and an official fortepiano player at Fenton House in the National Trust. At home she plays on a modern Steinway grand piano, as well as a fortepiano built in 1821.
There is a strong Japanese presence in London, and Junko was featured as a cultural pioneer, by Perrin and Hoare in their book, “Anglo-Japanese Cultural Pioneers 1945-2015”. In 1997, she had co-founded the Takemitsu Society of London in order to promote the music of the foremost Japanese composer, Toru Takemitsu. She was chair of the Society for fifteen years. .