Yosuke Kawasaki is appointed concertmaster of the National Arts Centre Orchestra

Arts • Posted by ottawastart on July 02, 2007

The National Arts Centre today announced the appointment of violinist Yosuke Kawasaki as concertmaster of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. He will take up his new position at the start of the 2007-08 season, only the second concertmaster in the 38-year history of the Orchestra. The NAC looks forward to welcoming Yosuke Kawasaki (pronounced YOSE-kay KOW-a-SA-kee) as concertmaster designate at two of the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s Great Composers concerts conducted by Pinchas Zukerman on July 3 and 5, and at the NAC Orchestra’s two outdoor concerts in LeBreton Flats Park on July 19 and 21. Beginning in September he will perform at least 16 weeks with the Orchestra while he completes his obligations with his orchestras in Japan.


Bernard Holland of the New York Times wrote in January 2006, “One can’t say enough about Yosuke Kawasaki’s energy-filled violin playing and his dead-on, fingertip sense of style.”


After a four-year search during which some 20 violinists were invited to play with the Orchestra as guest concertmaster, Yosuke Kawasaki joined the Orchestra for concerts in January with conductor Eri Klas, returning for concerts in February led by Pinchas Zukerman, instantly impressing the concertmaster search committee. He performed brilliantly in the recital that candidates under serious consideration are invited to give for the members of the NAC Orchestra.


Music Director Pinchas Zukerman said: “I am absolutely delighted that Yosuke has accepted our invitation to be our next concertmaster. The level of musicianship and professionalism that he displays reaches far beyond his years. He has been received warmly and with great enthusiasm by his new colleagues in the Orchestra. I think the public will see within a very short time that the leadership of this Orchestra is in great hands for the future. I’m looking forward to making music for many years with Yosuke both in chamber music settings as well as in his position as concertmaster of the National Arts Centre Orchestra.” 


Yosuke Kawasaki said: “It is an honour for me to have been chosen for this important role in this wonderful orchestra where I felt at home right away. I have been an admirer of Pinchas Zukerman for years and it is the opportunity of a lifetime to work with him. I am very much looking forward to this new adventure.”


The Chair of the NAC Orchestra Committee, principal bassoon Christopher Millard said: “The musicians of the National Arts Centre Orchestra are excited by the appointment of our new concertmaster, Yosuke Kawasaki. Mr. Kawasaki’s guest appearances with the Orchestra have revealed a musician of great depth and instinctive leadership whose presence elevates each performance. His audition was impressive, demonstrating a beautiful and flexible tone, an understanding of a broad range of musical styles, attention to detail and a consummate virtuosity. Above all, we believe his warm personality and enthusiasm for music-making will engage our audiences. We welcome Mr. Kawasaki to our musical family.”


“We are thrilled that Mr. Kawasaki has accepted the position of concertmaster of the National Arts Centre Orchestra,” said Christopher Deacon, Managing Director of the NAC Orchestra. “The search to find the artist who would lead the musicians of this remarkable orchestra in the next phase of its musical life involved a large committee of our musicians, our Music Director Pinchas Zukerman, and the staff. Having one of the great violinists in the world as Music Director, this orchestra needs a concertmaster with outstanding musical ability and leadership, and we are confident that we have found these qualities in Yosuke. We look forward to many years of collaboration.”


Yosuke Kawasaki’s versatile musicianship allows him to pursue a wide-ranging career of solo, chamber music, and orchestral engagements. Winner of the 2004 S&R Washington Award, the 30-year-old virtuoso currently serves as concertmaster of the Century Orchestra Osaka, and as co-concertmaster of the Mito Chamber Orchestra and Saito Kinen Orchestra in Japan. The latter two ensembles are both under the direction of Seiji Ozawa, who says, “I am very pleased to know that Yosuke Kawasaki has been appointed concertmaster of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Mr. Kawasaki has been a very valuable member of the Saito Kinen Orchestra, and he is also a noted chamber music player. He has my very best wishes in his new post.”


Kawasaki was also concertmaster of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra from 1999 to 2001, of the Juilliard Orchestra from 1997 to 1998, and of the Juilliard Symphony from 1994 to 1997. He has been guest soloist with Aspen Chamber Symphony, Kyushu Philharmonic, and the Orquesta Filarmonica de Lima, as well as with the three Japanese orchestras of which he is concertmaster. He is a founding member of the D’Amici String Quartet along with world-renowned musicians Federico Agostini, James Creitz and Sadao Harada, giving critically acclaimed performances and masterclasses in Europe and Japan. Mr. Kawasaki also maintains a duo with Russian-born pianist Vadim Serebryany, which made its Australian debut collaborating with the cutting edge Mark Morris Dance Group. The duo is known for its interpretation of Beethoven’s Complete Piano and Violin Sonatas which have been performed in the United States and Canada. In New York, Mr. Kawasaki is a member of the Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert broadcasting live programs on 96.3 FM-WQXR. He is also seen with the Caramoor Virtuosi and makes appearances at the prestigious Barge Music. His most recent recordings include Bach’s Double Concerto with Machiko Shimada and Bach’s Complete Brandenburg Concertos with Walter van Hauwe and the Saito Kinen Chamber Players, both on the King Label.


Mr. Kawasaki began his violin studies at the age of six with his father Masao Kawasaki and continued with Setsu Goto. At the age of ten he was accepted into The Juilliard School Pre-College Division where he won the school-wide concerto competition. He then continued his education and graduated from The Juilliard School in 1998 under the tutorship of Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, Felix Galimir and Joel Smirnoff.


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