Mito Chamber Orchestra Members

Profile

Violin

Syoko AKI

Syoko AKIAki started violin lessons when she was five years old, continuing her studies at the Toho Gakuen College of Music in Tokyo, the Hartt School of Music, and the Yale School of Music. She studied the violin under Anna Ono, Akeo Watanabe, Hideo Saito, and Broadus Erle. Aki has also performed as soloist under such conductors as Seiji Ozawa, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Gerard Schwarz, and has served as concertmistress and/or soloist with such ensembles as the Chamber Orchestra of New York, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Waterloo Festival Orchestra, the Saito Kinen Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale. She also used to belong to the Yale String Quartet, with which she recorded Beethoven's late string quartets in the 1960s and 1970s. Since 1968, Aki has been a professor in the Strings Department of the Yale School of Music, also serving as a visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music, the State University of New York, and the Toho Gakuen College of Music (the latter since 1976). During summers, she is also active in the United States and elsewhere at such venues as the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, as well as the Tanglewood Music Festival.


Violin

Machie Oguri

oguriBorn in Osaka, Oguri received instruction in the violin from Yuji Togi, Toshiya Eto, Hideo Saito, Josef Gingold, and Franco Gulli. After studying at the Soai Junior Conservatory of Music and the Toho Gakuen High School of Music, she graduated from the Toho Gakuen College of Music in 1971. In 1968, she took first prize in the 37th Music Competition of Japan during her first year at university, and in 1970 she took the Ataka Prize. In 1972, she won honorable mention at the 6th International Wieniawski Violin Competition. Moving overseas, Oguri studied at the University of Indiana at Bloomington in the United States between 1973 and 1975, where she completed the Artist Diploma program. In 1974, she created the International String Quartet, which won the grand prize at the Evian (now Bordeaux) International Chamber Music Competition. In 1977, the ensemble placed in the string quartet division of the ARD International Music Competition in Munich. The same year, the group debuted in New York. Thereafter, Oguri served as associate professor at the University of Indiana from 1976 to 1980. Between 1980 and 1986, she was artist-in-residence at Brown University. Since returning to Japan in 1986, Oguri has pursued a wide variety of activities, including performing as soloist with such as the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra. In 1994, she released a CD (on the Victor label) containing a compilation of the violin works of Koichi Kishi, called “The Tales of the Bamboo-Cutter (Taketori Monogatari): The Works of Koichi Kishi.” From 2002 to 2003, she put on a series entitled “Beethoven: The Complete Zyklus of Sonatas for Piano and Violin,” at the Matsukata Hall of Kobe Shimbun. In addition to her activities as a soloist and chamber musician, Oguri serves as concertmaster for the Izumi Sinfonietta Osaka. She has also instructed many excellent future musicians as professor at Soai University in Osaka and as specially-appointed professor at the Tokyo College of Music. In 2004, Oguri was bestowed the 34th ExxonMobil Music Award in the Western music division, also taking the special prize in the 2007 Osaka Art Awards. In 2011, Osaka City honored her by awarding her special commendation as an Osaka citizen.


Violin

Yosuke KAWASAKI

Yosuke KAWASAKI
© Peter Schaaf
Having begun violin lessons at age six, Kawasaki entered the preparatory course of The Juilliard School at age ten, where he studied under Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, Felix Galimir and Joel Smirnoff . He graduated from Juilliard in 1998. Kawasaki has appeared in such music festivals as the Aspen Music Festival, the Caramoor International Music Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Festival. Having served as concertmaster of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and the Osaka Century Symphony in Japan, Kawasaki currently serves as the concertmaster of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. He also has performance experience as a soloist and chamber musician as a member of the D'Amici String Quartet and the Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert, and participates in the Mark Morris Dance Group. As one of the youngest members of MCO, Kawasaki has drawn a lot of attention for his fine talents.


Violin

Takumi KUBOTA

Takumi KUBOTA
© Fumiaki FUJIMOTO
Born in Tokyo, Kubota began learning the violin at age four, studying under Yukio Fukushima, Eiko Nishijima, Shigeru Toyama, and Toshiya Etoh. After graduating from the Toho Gakuen Music High School, she traveled to Europe and studied under Wolfgang Schneiderhan at the university of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. In 1983, she won the top prize awarded at the 2nd Fritz Kreisler International Violin Competition (2nd prize, with no 1st prize awarded), as well as placing 1st in the 3rd Michelangelo Abbado International Competition for Violinists. In 1984, she became the first Japanese ever to win the top prize in the Violin Division of the ARD International Music Competition in Munich. Since then, she has performed with such orchestras as the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bavarian State Orchestra, and under such conductors as Wolfgang Sawallisch, Paavo Berglund, Michael Gielen, and Loris Tjeknavorian. Kubota also appeared as soloist in a performance tour by Helmut Winschermann and the Deutsche Bachsolisten. In 1988, she formed the Wiener Klavierquartett, and has been a member of the Saito Kinen Orchestra since 1987 as well as MCO since 1990. Since 2007, Kubota has been performing duo concerts jointly with the pianist Paul Gulda. In 2008, her performances of all the Violin Sonatas by Brahms drew high praise from various newspaper music critics. Kubota has released many CDs, including the Partitas and Sonatas for solo violin by J.S. Bach, as well as compilations of works by Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Prokofiev and Kreisler. She taught students at the Tokyo University of the Arts between 1999 and 2005, and has been teaching at the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music since 2010. In 2011 she was named associate professor at the Toho Gakuen College of Music.


Violin

Kyoko Saburi

Kyoko SaburiSaburi started playing the violin at the age of five. After graduating from the music department of Toho Girls' Senior High School, she entered the Toho Gakuen College Music Department, studying under Toshiya Etoh. She placed second in the 55th Music Competition of Japan in 1986, capturing the Kuroyanagi Prize. Graduating at the top of her class, she was selected as class representative to give a performance before the late Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako at the Tokagakudo Imperial Concert Hall within the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Thereafter, Saburi studied at the Hochschule fur Musik and Tanz Koln (Cologne) in Germany, having received a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Next, she went on to study at the Universitat fur Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien (University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna) in Austria, studying under Alexander Arenkow. She also took lessons in chamber music at the Chigiana Musical Academy in Siena, Italy, studying under Riccardo Brengola. Saburi place third in the Maria Canals Barcelona International Musical Execution Competition. After returning to Japan from Europe, Saburi has performed across the country in many concert venues, both as a soloist and as concertmaster for several orchestras. Besides performing in the JT Chamber Music Series, among others, she has appeared yearly in the Miyazaki International Music Festival and with the Saito Kinen Orchestra. She has also played chamber music in India, Malaysia and Thailand with support from the Japan Foundation. She has also won the Aoyama Music Award. Saburi is a member of Colore Quartet, and serves as adjunct instructor at the Musashino Academia Musicae.


Violin

Machiko SHIMADA

Machiko SHIMADABorn in 1975, Shimada graduated at the top of her class from the Tokyo University of the Arts in 1998, at which time she won the Ataka Prize. The following year, she made her way to Germany, continuing her education at the Hochschule fur Musik Detmold. Studying there for six years, during which time she expanded her experience around Europe, she received a performance diploma in 2005 with the highest grades. She has studied violin so far under Chikashi Tanaka, Marco Rizzi, and Isaac Stern, among others.
Shimada has been awarded many prizes in various competitions both in Japan and abroad, including the Grand Prize in the junior high school division of the 44th Student Music Concours of Japan in 1990, 2nd place in the 66th Music Competition of Japan in 1997, Grand Prize in the 7th Japan Mozart Music Competition in 2003, the special prize in memory of Renato De Barbieri in the 45th Paganini International Violin Competition in 1998, and 5th prize in the Bach Competition Leipzig. Shimada was given the Aichi Prefectural Arts Encouragement Prize by the Aichi prefectural government in 2006 and the Nagoya City Arts Prize by the Nagoya municipal government in 2009.
As a performer, Shimada has been active throughout Japan, particularly Tokyo and Nagoya, giving recitals as a soloist and performing jointly with such prominent ensembles as the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 1998, she has participated in the annual concert tours given by the Saito Kinen Orchestra abroad, taking part as well in the Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto held each summer. She also participates as a member of the Spring Festival in Tokyo Chamber Orchestra, and has performed chamber music at major concert venues around Japan. Outside of Japan, Shimada continues to give solo recitals, especially in Europe. Starting in April 2013, she has served as the guest solo concertmaster of the Central Aichi Symphony Orchestra, based in Nagoya, Japan.
Shimada plays on a violin manufactured in 1769 by the Italian Giovanni Battista Guadagnini. The instrument is on loan to her from Yellow Angel.
Her official website is: http://machikoshimada.com


Violin

Kyoko Takezawa

takezawaTakezawa started violin lessons age three, studying under Shoichi Yamamura and Kenji Kobayashi. She made her first overseas performances at age six as a member of the Talent Education Research Institute’s overseas delegation, composed of students taught by the Suzuki method of Shin’ichi Suzuki. While studying at the Toho Gakuen Music High School for Girls, she took grand prize at the 51st Music Competition of Japan, along with the Leucadia Award and the Kuroyanagi Award. In 1985, Takezawa entered The Juilliard School, where she studied under Dorothy Delay and Masao Kawasaki. In 1986, she was awarded the Gold Medal at the Second Quadrennial International Violin Competition in Indianapolis, which pushed her toward international stardom, a path she has not veered from since. So far, she has performed around the globe with such major orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, under the baton of such distinguished conductors as Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Chailly, and Seiji Ozawa. More recently, Takezawa completed a recital series in 2009 commemorating the 20th anniversary of her debut, wrapping it with performances of Brahms’ complete violin sonatas in various venues. In 2010, she played Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, garnering accolades from the audience and critics alike. In 2011, she toured Spain with The Philharmonia Orchestra, and served as soloist during the Japan tour of the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg in 2012. She continues to make appearances in such renowned music festivals as Aspen and Lucerne, and has served as a jury member in many international competitions, including the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition. Her wide spectrum of activities also includes performances of concertos, chamber music and recitals in Japan. Takezawa has released a number of CDs on the RCA Red Seal label. She plays on the 1704 Antonio Stradivarius “Viotti” violin, provided to her on loan by the non-profit organization Yellow Angel. In 1993, she won the 3rd Idemitsu Award for her outstanding musicianship. Currently living in Paris, Takezawa was appointed member of the Mito Chamber Orchestra (MCO) in May 2015.


Violin

Naoko TANAKA

Naoko TANAKABorn in Tokyo, Tanaka started studying the violin when she was four years old, taking lessons from Suehiko Watanabe. When she was in 2nd grade, she joined the Music Class for Children at Toho Gakuen, where she continued lessons with Jeanne Isnard and Tomoyasu Soh. Tanaka later entered the Toho Gakuen Music High School, where she received further guidance from Teiko Maehashi and Hideo Saito. While a student at the Toho Gakuen College of Music, she studied abroad at The Juilliard School, studying under Dorothy DeLay, later becoming her long-term assistant. While still a student, she took part in the founding of both the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of Saint Luke's chamber ensemble, becoming concertmistress, and recorded for Deutsche Grammophon as a member of the Orpheus. Tanaka has traveled to most of the countries of North and South America as well as Europe in order to perform at concerts and recitals. In addition, she is broadly active in chamber music and solo performances from her base in New York, as a member of the New York Philomusica Chamber Ensemble and the Kennedy Center Theater Chamber Players. Currently, Tanaka also teaches at The Juilliard School.


Violin

Yasushi TOYOSHIMA

Yasushi TOYOSHIMAToyoshima studied violin under Toshiya Etoh and Angela Etoh at the Toho Gakuen Music High School and the Toho Gakuen College of Music. He was appointed concertmaster of the New Japan Philharmonic in the same year that he graduated, at the young age of 22, since when he has been active as a soloist and as the key player in many chamber music projects. Toyoshima currently serves as guest solo concertmaster of the New Japan Philharmonic, concertmaster of the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra, and concertmaster laureate of The Kyushu Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he made his debut as a conductor in March 2004, and has increasingly expanded his ambitious activities in that direction. At Art Tower Mito, Toyoshima has belonged to the in-house group, the ATM Ensemble, since the establishment of the arts complex in 1990, and has been a member of MCO since 2007. In MCO’s third European tour in 2008, shen Seiji Ozawa, the group's musical adviser, suddenly fell ill and could not participate in the tour any longer, Toyoshima brilliantly led the directorless group to great success on the tour as its concertmaster.


Violin

Shizuka NAKAMURA

Shizuka NAKAMURA
© Eiji SHINOHARA
After studying at the Toho Gakuen High School of Music, Nakamura entered the Toho Gakuen College of Music, from which she later graduated. She received a full scholarship to participate in the Aspen Music Festival, and studied abroad at The Juilliard School with sponsorship from Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs as an artist trainee dispatched abroad. So far, Nakamura has studied violin under Saburo Sumi, Yoshio Unno, Kenji Kobayashi, Masao Kawasaki, and Dorothy DeLay. She took the top prize in the 52nd Music Competition of Japan, also winning the Masuzawa Prize, the Leucadia Prize, and the Kuroyanagi Prize. She also received special mention in the 29th Kaigai Haken (to send artists abroad) Music Competition, and placed in the 3rd Japan International Music Competition. Between 1994 and 1999, Nakamura performed a series of ten concerts at the former Sogakudo in Tokyo, playing all the Violin Sonatas of Beethoven, also actively introducing works written by Japanese composers. To date, she has performed with such ensembles as the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, and has appeared in many different music festivals. Nakamura made her solo debut on the viola in the 2003 Ogaki Music Festival, and has recently expanded her activities as a violist. Also, she plans ambitious programs for her self-planned biennial recitals, in which she mixes violin and viola pieces. Nakamura's CDs include "Franck and Saint-Saens: Piano Quintets (Kiri Quintet)," "Schubertiade, with Rikuya Terashima." She currently belongs to the Kiri Quintet, MCO, and the Saito Kinen Orchestra. Besides her solo and chamber performances, Nakamura is busy teaching young musicians at the Tokyo College of Music and Ferris University.



Violin

Tadashi HORI

Tadashi HORIBorn in Aichi Prefecture in 1935, Hori took his first violin lessons in the 6th grade. He entered Toho Gakuen Music High School the same year that the school opened. In 1957, he graduated from the Toho Gakuen Junior College of Music, and joined the Pro Musica String Quartet—led by Ryutaro Iwabuchi—as 2nd violinist. Meanwhile, he also served as guest concertmaster of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and the Classical Music Society. In 1964, Hori joined the NHK Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster, at the young age of 29. In 1967, he traveled abroad to study at the Vienna Conservatory. In 1991, he left the NHK Symphony Orchestra, then joined the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, after which he became freelance. He has been a member of the Saito Kinen Orchestra since its founding in 1984. He has studied the violin under Hisaoki Ohno, Toyoko Hattori, Hideo Saito, and Walter Schneiderhan. Hori serves as the chief representative of the members of MCO.


Violin

Miwako WATANABE

Miwako WATANABEBorn in Beijing, China, in 1939, Watanabe started learning the violin around the age of seven, studying under Hirotsugu Shinozaki. In the 5th grade, she joined the Children's Music Class of the Toho Gakuen School of Music, and studied under Saburo Sumi in junior high school. She later entered Toho Gakuen Music High School, where she took violin lessons from Jeanne Isnard and Wolfgang Stavonhagen. In her 2nd year of high school, she placed first in the Student Music Concours of Japan, and in her 3rd year of high school, placed 3rd in the Music Competition of Japan. After graduating from high school, she won a Fulbright Scholarship to attend The Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied for five years under Ivan Galamian. After graduating, Watanabe moved to Europe, where she joined the Munich Bach Orchestra, directed by Karl Richter, participating in performance tours and recordings with Deutsche Grammophon. She continued her performance activities while studying under Sándor Végh. Thereafter, she moved to Los Angeles, where she spent nine years as a member of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, directed by Sir Neville Marriner, as well as performing as a soloist. At the same time, she became a member of the Sequoia Quartet. In 1976, Watanabe won the Walter Naumburg Chamber Music Prize, after which she performed for 12 years at venues around the world. Between 1986 and 2002, she based herself in San Francisco as violinist in The Francesco Trio, performing and making recordings across the United States, while also performing in Japan. For the past two decades, Watanabe has focused on teaching younger people, while serving as concertmistress of the Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay. She has also been a member of both the MCO and Saito Kinen Orchestra since their founding.

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