Sunday, May 18, 2014

Akiko Suwanai

Akiko Suwanai is a Japanese violinist and teacher born (in Tokyo) on February 7, 1972.  Suwanai won the Tchaikovsky violin competition at age 18 (1990) and is well-known for playing one of Heifetz’ old violins, the Dolphin Stradivarius of 1714.  She initially studied in Tokyo with Toshiya Eto.  Eventually she moved to the U.S where she studied with Dorothy DeLay and Cho Liang Lin at Juilliard.  Then she moved to Berlin to study with Uwe Martin Haiberg at the Advanced School of Art (the University of Art.)  Suwanai has since solidly established her career, gaining praise from critics and audiences throughout the world.  She frequently tours with top orchestras, but mostly in Europe.  She soloed with the New York Philharmonic on November 20, 1997, playing the Mendelssohn concerto – the one in e minor.  Suwanai first performed with the Berlin Philharmonic on September 12, 2000, playing Ravel’s Tzigane.  She was 28 years old.  Charles Dutoit was on the podium.  She opened the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival in 2009, being the first Japanese violinist invited to do so.  She has recorded with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, among others.  Suwanai also teaches master classes occasionally.  As far as I know, Suwanai presently has her home base in Paris.  Paris, New York, Berlin, Rome, and London are probably the most popular cities for concert violinists to work from.  Here is a YouTube video of her playing (in the orchestra) with a few other musicians at the Louvre.  And another is here at the same concert, playing the double concerto by Bach.  Among her collaborators at the concert are Manrico Padovani, Sergey Khachatryan, Viviane Hagner, Hyun-su Shin, Manuela Janke, Steven Isserlis, and Arabella Steinbacher.  There are many other videos of Suwanai in concert on YouTube.  The photo is courtesy of Leslie Kee.  

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