Nobuko Imai, Koji Otsuki, Fuyuka Kusa
Veit Hrtenstein, Ryo Oshima, Yumiko Yamamoto
Takayoshi Okuizumi, Mamiko Kobayakawa
Nobuko Imai, viola
With her exceptional talent, musical integrity, and charisma, Nobuko Imai is considered to be one of the most outstanding violist of our time.
After finishing her studies at the Toho School of Music, Yale University and the Juilliard School, she won the highest prizes at both the prestigious international competition in Munich and Geneva.
Formerly a member of the esteemed Vermeer Quartet, Ms. Imai combines a distinguished international solo career with various teaching commitments. She has appeared with numerous wolrd's prestigious orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw, the London Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony. As a keen chmaber musician, Ms. Imai has performed with various prominent artists such as Gidon Kremer, Midori, Isaac Stern, Mischa Maisky, and Martha Argerich. In 2003, she formed the Michelangelo Quartet. The quartet gained the international reputation quickly and now became one of finest quartets in the world. Ms. Imai has dedicated a large part of her artistic activities to explore the diverse potential of the viola.
She returns to Japan several times a year, to perform as soloist and notably for the annual "Viola Space" project. In 1995/1996 Nobuko Imai was artistic director of three Hindemith Festivals at the Wigmore Hall in London, at Columbia University in New York and at the Casals Hall in Tokyo. In 2009 she founded The Tokyo International Viola Competition, the first international competition in Japan exclusively for viola. An impressive discography of over 40 CDs shows her recordings for BIS, Chandos, Hyperion, Philips, Sony among others. Ms. Imai taught as a Professor at the Detmold Academy of Music from 1983 to 2003 and at the Geneva University of Music from 2003 to June 2014. She currently teaches at Amsterdam Conservatory, Kronberg International Academy, and Ueno Gakuen University in Tokyo.
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Koji Otsuki, violoncello da spalla
Koji Otsuki is a versatile conductor and performer specializing in historically informed performance of the music of J.S. Bach. After receiving a master's degree in Choral Conducting from Temple University in Philadelphia (USA), he studied Bach at Tokyo University of the Arts as a Japanese government research scholar under Masaaki Suzuki, director of the Bach Collegium Japan. While in Tokyo, he also studied baroque violin, flauto traverso, baroque voice and early music ensemble with foremost experts of our time. After his return from Japan, he continued his baroque violin/early music ensemble direction study with Stanley Ritchie et al. in a doctoral program at Indiana University. The founding director of the Gamut Bach Ensemble based in Tokyo and in Philadelphia, he combines his choral experience with a variety of musical training in pursuit of Bach's sacred vocal works. Currently, he is Bach cantata coach and head music librarian at the Marlboro Music Festival, where he collaborates with artistic director Mitsuko Uchida and other world-class musicians including Nobuko Imai. His recent appearances as lecturer include Bach master classes at Viola Space in Tokyo (May 2014), Sejong International Music Festival in Philadelphia (August 2014), Viola Master Class in Hokkaido, Japan (January 2015 & 2016), and Viola Space in Kaohsiung, Taiwan (January 2016). Lately he takes great pleasure in playing the violoncello da spalla (horizontally-held violoncello piccolo).
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Fuyuka Kusa, piano
Pianist Fuyuka KUSA has established herself as one of the most sought-after solo and collaborative pianists of her generation in Japan. Earning her bachelor's and master's degrees from the Tokyo University of the Arts, she continued her postgraduate study at the University of Music Freiburg and received the CONCERTIST-DIPLOMA with full marks. Along the way she studied with recognized teachers such as Yasuko Sugimoto, Hitoshi Kobayashi, Kei Itoh and Gilead Mishory.
The first prize winner at the 4th Rosenstock International Piano Competition (2003, Japan) and the 2nd Althur Lepthien International Piano Competition (2007, Germany), Ms. Kusa also won numerous prizes at several competitions held in Japan.
In addition to her appearances at renowned international music festivals such as Budapest Spring Festival (2005, Hungary), Mozart Festival (2007, Germany) and Viola Space (yearly, Japan), she continues to play significant roles at the Tokyo International Viola Competition, the Great Mountain Music Festival and School (South Korea), and master classes by Wolfram Christ and Nobuko Imai as official collaborative pianist.
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Veit Hertenstein, viola
First Prize Winner of the 2011 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Hertenstein is one of the most exciting musicians on his instrument to emerge in years. He has already gained the recognition of important musicians for his exciting stage presence and virtuoso artistry. Hertenstein has participated in the Marlboro Festival, the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad and the Verbier Festival in 2009 and 2010, where he was awarded the "Henri Louis de la Grange" special viola prize. He appeared at Seiji Ozawa's International Music Academy in Rolle, Switzerland in 2008. He was won numerous competitions including the Pro Helvetia viola concerto commission, the New Talent Competition of the European Broadcasting Union (2009), the Tokyo International Viola Competition (2009) and the Orpheus Competition in Zurich (2007). Frequently, he has been the first violist to have ever won these competitions. His performances have been broadcast throughout Europe and he has recorded for Euro-Classics. Hertenstein will make his New York debut at Merkin Hall and his Washington, D.C. debut at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater this season.
In 2009 he earned an artist diploma at the Haut Ecole de Musique in Geneva working with violist Nobuko Imai (YCA Alumna) and with Miguel da Silva, violist of the Ysaye Quartet. Since 2011, he is principal viola of Basel Symphony Orchestra. Since October 2015, he is a professor of the University of Music Detmold. He plays a 1701 David Tecchler viola.
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Ryo Oshima, viola
After finishing his studies at the Toho Gakuen College Music Department, Mr. Ryo Oshima studied viola with Nobuo Okada at the diploma course of Toho Gakuen Graduate School, and also studied the chember music under Mstislav Rostropovich and Robert Mann.
The first prize winner of Strings Section at the Concert Marronnier 21 (2006), the 7th Tokyo Music Competition (2009), and Diploma at the International Instrumental Competition Markneukirchen (2007).
Mr. Oshima apperrances at Viola Space, Spring Festival in Tokyo, Mito Chamber Orchestra and Saito Kinen Orchestra. He play with Sadao Harada, Myung-wha Chung, Ikuyo Nakamichi as musician of chamber and also activity as a soloist at Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Kyushu Symphony Orchestra. In 2012, Mr. Oshima had the first recital at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, and it got high evaluation. He's an excellent chamber music player and a lecturer. Since April 2015, he is principal violist of Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra.
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Yumiko Yamamoto, viola
Yumiko Yamamoto is teaching the cember music and auditor's lesson at the Viola Master Class in Otaru from 2009 as Nobuko Imai's assistant.
After finishing her studies at the Toho School of Music, She studied viola under Bruno Giuranna, Rainer Moog and Nobuko Imai, also studied the chember music under the Amadeus String Quartet at the master course in the University of Music Detmold and the Cologne University of Music, and received the CONCERTIST-DIPLOMA (1983). She carried on performance activity at Europe and recorded as a member of German Chamber Academy and the Kerner Ensemble.
After returning home, Ms. Yamamoto moved a place by the activity to Kyoto in Japan. She's active as a solo viola player and chamber music player, and also had the Open Master Class in the University of Victoria (Canada) and the Kyoto City University of Arts as an educator.
The first prize winner at the Student Music concours of Western Japan (1970), Wolfgang Hock Competition (1981), the Bronze medal of Geneva International Music Competition (1982) and the Barocksaal prize of Kyoto Aoyama Music Awards (1998).
Ms. Yamamoto teaches in the Kyoto City University of Arts and the Soai University.
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Takayoshi Okuizumi, cello
Takayoshi Okuizumi participates at the Viola Master Class in Otaru by a guest cellist from 2012.
After finishing at The Music High School Attached to The Faculty of Music, Tokyo University of the Arts, he studies Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Trossingen (Germany), and he was a contract member in Bavarian State Orchestra for 2 years from 2007. Along the way she studied with recognized teachers such as Yoshiro Uehara, Fumiaki Kono, Sadao Harada and Yves Savary.
Mr. Okuizumi win the excellent prize of Sapporo Junior Cello Competition (1998), the 2nd prize of Vivahall Cello Competition (2004) and was the Agency for Cultural Affairs overseas trainee in 2006.
He carried on performance activity as a soloist at the Orchestra of Seiji Ozawa Ongaku-juku, Kuromon Philharmonic Orchestra, Shonan Philharmonic Orchestra, Sapporo Sistina Orchestra, Arethusa String Orchestra (Itary), and premiered Erich.S.Hermann's Cello concerto with Sinfonieorchester TonArt Heidelberg.
After returning Japan in 2009, Mr. Okuizumi active as a solo Cellist and chamber music player, and he is teaching in the Ueno Gakuen University since 2010.
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Mamiko Kobayakawa, viola
Mamiko Kobayakawa is a Japanese Violist and arranger.
She is introducing Classical Music's attractiveness with a new perspective, by producing several music concerts under the theme of tradition and development.
In 2011, she embarked on music arrangements of the excellent pieces, which are covered from baroques to romantics, for chamber music featuring viola(s). Since then, she has been providing her arrangement works for a number of festivals and players. In recent years, Kobayakawa contributed the Brandenburg concerto No3 (BWV1048), which was arranged for viola ensemble, to the Viola Space2015, and the highlight of its performance was broadcast via NHK-BS Premium "Classic Club". And then, her long-awaited work, Vivaldi / The Four Seasons for viola ensemble, was performed (World Premiere) at the OTARU viola master class2016 and its following tour concerts in Taiwan.
She is also focusing on producing creative and unique concerts, and her main track records are, in 2013 all her works concert at Blue Note Tokyo in Apr. and X'mas concert with pipe organ/piano/ cello/viola taking advantage of huge space of "St. Mary's Cathedral, Tokyo" in Dec., in 2014 all Mendelssohn two days concerts including her works at Suntory Hall in Dec., and recently collaboration concerts with a prestige men's brand and a premium French cuisine. The above her activities can be found on her official website "http://www.royal-viola.com/", and the site is serving an online shop to distribute the music scores of her major works, which were published from Royal Art and Music, and have acquired a good reputation all over the world.
She began taking Piano lessons at age 4, taking Violin lessons at age 6, switched to Viola at age 16, graduated from Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music, and studied at Ueno Gakuen, in 2010-2012 recommended by Prof. Nobuko Imai. Now she is studying Viola and chamber music with Prof. Nobuko Imai and Prof. Kiyoshi Okayama, and music theory and arrangement with Tami Nodaira.
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