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Akiko Suwanai

Akiko Suwanai

“Her big, focused, almost piercing tone took over, carving sonic space, a race car driver weaving in and out of (and even cutting off) traffic.” The Washington Post


Japanese violinist Akiko Suwanai has established herself as one of the most sought-after artists of her generation. Since winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1990, she has enjoyed a flourishing career, engaging at the highest-level performing chamber music and with orchestras and conductors internationally.

Highlights of her 2022/23 Season include appearances at the Stresa Festival with Basel Symphony and weeks with Duisburg Symphoniker/Bellincampi and NSO Taiwan/Markl showcasing her wide repertoire with concerti by Mozart, Korngold, Takemitsu and Ravel. In the 2021/22 Season, Suwanai recorded and released the complete "J.S. Bach: Sonatas And Partitas For Solo Violin" for Universal as well as giving a solo recital tour of these works across Japan. Recent symphonic highlights have included weeks with Budapest Festival Orchestra/Fischer, Tonkünstler/Markl, Castilla & Leon Symphony Orchestra/Hayward, NHK Symphony Orchestra/Otaka, and Ligeti’s Violin Concerto with Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias for the first time.


Universally acclaimed for her performances of key violin repertoire, Suwanai is also widely recognised for her master interpretations of lesser-performed works and passion for new music. In previous seasons, she has recorded works by Takemitsu with the NHK Symphony Orchestra/Järvi for Sony and given premieres of Peter Eötvös’ Seven at the Lucerne Festival under Pierre Boulez, and in the following year at the BBC Proms conducted by Susanna Mälkki. She has also given Asian premieres of important new works including violin concertos by James MacMillan, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Krzysztof Penderecki. 


Suwanai performs on the “Charles Reade” Guarneri del Gesu violin generously loaned to her by the Japanese American collector and philanthropist, Dr Ryuji Ueno.