Guest Artists 2020

Akiko Suwanai


Praised by The Times for her “noble playing, with its rhythmic life, taut and rigorous,” Japanese violinist Akiko Suwanai was the youngest ever winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1990. Since then she has enjoyed a flourishing international career and appears regularly with celebrated maestros and foremost orchestras across the globe.

In 2019/20, Akiko Suwanai returns to Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra for a series of concerts with its music director Gianandrea Noseda both at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C and on tour in Japan. Other highlights of the season include debuts with Camerata Salzburg at the Enescu Festival in Bucharest, as well as with Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy, Brussels Philharmonic and Jun Märkl, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Andrey Boreyko.

Universally acclaimed for her performances of key violin repertoire works, Akiko Suwanai is also widely recognised for her master interpretations of lesser-performed works and passion for new music. In 2007, she premiered Peter Eötvös' violin concerto Seven at Lucerne Festival under Pierre Boulez, and in the following year she took this work to the BBC Proms where she appeared alongside Susanna Mälkki and the Philharmonia Orchestra. She also gave Japanese premieres of important new works such as violin concertos by James MacMillan and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Suwanai is the Artistic Director of the International Music Festival NIPPON which she launched in 2012. Offering a variety of orchestral and chamber music concerts, master classes and charity events, the Festival regularly organizes Japanese premieres and commissions new works by Japanese and international composers.

A previous winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, Akiko has also won numerous awards, including the International Paganini Competition and the Queen Elisabeth International Competition.

You can see Akiko Suwanai in action at The New Zealand Herald Premier Series: Perspectives on Thursday 18 June.




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