The Japanese soprano Hiroko Masaki won first place in the solo singer division of the NHK-Mainichi All-Japan Students’ Music Competition at the age of eighteen. She took her Master’s degree at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1987 and made her debut as Despina in Tokyo. She studied with Mady Mesple and Gabriel Bacquier in Paris, thereafter moving to Brussels with a Rotary International Foundation scholarship. There, she was awarded the Diplome Superieur of Opera at the Royal Conservatoire. She also studied wit some of the most distinguished performers and teachers and since 1993 has worked as an assistant in the singing department of the Brussels Royal Conservatoire.