Born in 1958 in Osaka, 8 year old Isao Nakamura played his debut on the traditional "Matsuri" drum at the Japanese Festival. He studied at the Tokyo University of the Arts and at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg. Many concert tours have brought him through Europe and the far East as soloist and chamber music partner of composers such as John Cage, Heinz Holliger, Toshio Hosokawa, Mauricio Kagel, Helmut Lachenmann, Hans Ulrich Lehmann, Luigi Nono or Karl-Heinz Stockhausen. Isao Nakamura has played with various orchestras and conductors: Lothar Zagrozek, Rupert Huber, Steven Sloane, Jonathan Stockhammer, Kasushi Ono, Ken Takaseki, the radio orchestras of the BR, WDR, SR, SWR, Stuttgart Opera, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Orchestra Sinfonica Nationale della Rai , Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra to name a few as well as appearing in many international festivals. In addition to many radio productions, his discography includes an album of works by Toshio Hosokawa (Tabibito, Sen VI, Die Lotus Blume - Stradivarius STR 33818) and the DVD "Ekstasis" by Dieter Schnebel (Wergo Muvi 200501).
With the korean pianist Kaya Han he established the "Duo Konflikt" in 1995. Their newest CD "Duo Konflikt" (editionzeitklang ez80010) features works dedicated to them. In 2006 he established Isao Nakamura Percussion Ensemble and in 2010 Isao Nakamura and Friends. Many works have been composed especially for him by Toshio Hosokawa, Klaus Huber, Peter Eötvös, Younghi Pagh Paan, Robert HP Platz, Gerhard Staebler, Nikolaus Richter de Vroe, Thomas Lauck , Bernfried Pröve among others. In 1986 he was awarded the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis, in 1992 the Aoyama Musikpreis Spezialpreis and in 2004 the Saji Keizo Prize. For many years Isao Nakamura has taught at the Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt (1994-2006), Akiyoshidai International Contemporary Music Seminar and Festival in Japan (1991-1998) and is Professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe since 1992. Yamaha Artist.