October 6, 2017 (Fri)
Yoshiko Kawamoto is the winner of the highest prize (2nd prize without 1st prize winner) at the renowned Geneva Competition in 1992. She was also awarded Muramatsu Award in 1996 and the Fresh Artists Prize at the 7th Nippon Steel Music Prized in 1997. After serving as the principal player at the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Kawamoto is now active both in solo and chamber music activities. She is a member of the Kyoto Alti String Quartet and AOI residence quartet.
After serving as first violist in the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Kawamoto has been one of the most active viola soloists and chamber musicians. She is a member of Kyoto Alti String Quartet and AOI Residence Quartet.
Kawamoto changed her instrument to viola when she joined the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra in 1991. She served as the principal viola player from 1999 until she left the orchestra in 2002.
She has participated in numerous renowned music festivals such as Marlboro (U.S.A.), Davos (Switzerland), Tokyo Summer Festival, and Kirishima. She has been regularly invited to Saito Kinen Orchestra, Ozawa Ongaku Juku, Mito Chamber Orchestra, and Marth Argerich Festival. Her performances with noted soloists such as Martha Argerich and Yuri Bashmet were highly acclaimed.
Kawamoto is also active as soloist and performed recitals at Nippon Steel Concert in November 1995 and at the 59th Promising Artists Series. Her recital series named "Haseko Classic Special / Yoshiko Kawamoto, the violist" which was held at Casals Hall, Tokyo for a year received acclaim both from public and critics. Kawamoto has performed as soloist under the baton of noted conductors such as Gary Bertini, Jean Fournet, and Peter Maag.
She was also invited to play at "Seven Stars Gala Concert" which was organized and performed by Mo. Myung-Whun Chung (conductor and pianist), and performed chamber concerts with the Maestro both in Korea and Japan. Her performance in July 2003 was reviewed in Asahi Newspaper, "Amazing flexibility. True viola virtuoso who can support other parts playing together with them." And she got The 45th TonenGeneral Music Award Western Classical Music Promotion Division in 2015.
Hailed by the Washington Post as "a pianist's pianist," Ryo has established himself as one of Canada's shining artists. His success includes winning the gold medal at the 10th San Antonio International Piano Competition, where he was also given special recognition for a performance of the complete Chopin Ballades. He is the grand prize winner of the Hugo Kauder International Piano competition and a laureate of the Minnesota International Piano-e-Competition, the Dr. Luis Sigall International Piano competition in Vina del Mar (Chile), and the Hilton Head International Piano Competition.
Ryo has made concerto appearances with orchestras around the world, including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the Moroccan Symphony Orchestra, and the Tokyo Kioi Symphonietta. His performances have taken him to such venues as the Kennedy Center, The National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and Salle Cortot in Paris among others.
In addition to his solo career, he is much sought after as a chamber musician, performing in a wide range of settings from the duo sonata repertoire to large ensembles. Ryo is frequently invited as guest pianist to chamber music festivals across the US, in the capacity of both lecturer and collaborative pianist. He also presided as one of the core members of the Evermay Chamber Ensemble.
A recipient of many scholarships and awards, Ryo has been endowed twice by the Canadian Arts Council with a grant as an Emerging Artist, and is a recipient of the Arthur Foote Scholarship from the Harvard Musical Association. He was also awarded the Sony Foundation of America Career Grant through the Salon de Virtuosi of New York, and a Washington Award by the S&R Foundation of Washington DC. He has also been an artist-in-residence of the Maxwell Shepherd Fund of Connecticut. Ryo is increasingly recognized not only as a performer but as a pedagogue, and is in demand as adjudicator to competitions and as masterclass clinician in North America and Asia. He has also released two solo CDs consisting of works by Chopin and Debussy, as well as a CD in collaboration with the cellist Dai Miyata in Japan.
Ryo Yanagitani received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Yale School of Music under Boris Berman, a Bachelor Degree in Piano Performance from the University of British Columbia under Doctor Henri-Paul Sicsic, and an Artist Diploma from the Cleveland Institute under Sergei Babayan. He was an instructor for the Chamber Music Program at Yale, and was a visiting Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He currently holds the title of Artistic Director of the Ryuji Ueno Foundation in Washington DC.