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Akiko Suwanai

Akiko Suwanai

The youngest ever winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, Akiko Suwanai is a violinist who enjoys a prestigious international career performing in concerts and recitals in major cities in Europe, North America and Asia.



‘Akiko Suwanai, a tall, imposing violinist of striking stage presence, raised her bow for a sombre, intense descent of notes at the start: this was big-boned, noble playing, with its rhythmic life taut and rigorous.' The Times

Recent performances have included concerts with the Bamberger Symphoniker, the Philharmonia, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony and NHK Symphony orchestras. She recently toured with the NDR Sinfonieorchester (with Christoph von Dohnányi), London Symphony Orchestra (Valery Gergiev), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (Claus Peter Flor), and both Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Orchestre de Paris (with Paavo Järvi). Conductor collaborations include performances with Vladimir Ashkenazy, Andrew Davis, Lorin Maazel, David Robertson, Susanna Mälkki, Neeme Järvi, Sakari Oramo and Seiji Ozawa.

This season Suwanai returns to the Philharmonia Orchestra, WDR Rundfunkorchester, Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, and NHK Symphony Orchestra. Further highlights include a European tour with Orchestre National de Belgique (with Andrey Boreyko), tours of Japan with the Philharmonia Orchestra (Esa-Pekka Salonen) and Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse (Tugan Sokhiev). In late 2013, Suwanai launches the 'International Music Festival NIPPON', and takes up the role of its Artistic Director. The festival includes her performance of a new work by Salonen with the Philharmonia Orchestra, recitals with Leif Ove Andsnes, Pieter Wispelwey and Akira Eguchi, as well as several masterclasses.

Suwanai has a broad repertoire ranging from Bach to contemporary composers. She gave the world premiere of Peter Eötvös's violin concerto Seven at the Lucerne Festival with the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra under the baton of Pierre Boulez. Further performances of the work, together with Eötvös conducting, included concerts in Gothenburg, Budapest, Berlin, Tokyo, Toronto and at the BBC Proms.

Akiko Suwanai's extensive discography with Universal Music has garnered much critical acclaim. Her most recent release is a recital disc entitled 'Emotion' with pianist Itamar Golan. Other releases to date include CDs with the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields under Neville Marriner, the Philharmonia Orchestra under Charles Dutoit, a Slavonic album with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Iván Fischer, a CD of Bach Concertos with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, as well as a recital disc of Beethoven Sonatas with Nicholas Angelich.

Akiko Suwanai has won numerous prizes and awards including the International Paganini Competition in Italy, the International Japan Competition and the Queen Elisabeth International Competition in Belgium. She studied at the Toho Gakuen School of Music with Toshiya Eto, at Columbia University and the Juilliard School of Music with Dorothy DeLay and Cho-Liang Lin, and also at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin with Uwe-Martin Haiberg. She now lives in Paris.


Akiko Suwanai performs on the Antonio Stradivarius 1714 violin ‘Dolphin', one of the most famous violins known today and previously owned by the celebrated violinist Jascha Heifetz, kindly loaned to her by the Nippon Music Foundation.