Akiko Suwanai

Violin
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. An extremely keen chamber musician, she tours Japan with Nicholas Angelich presenting a brand-new all-Beethoven programme commemorating composer’s 250th anniversary. 

In recent years, Akiko Suwanai performed with Orchestre de Paris and Paavo Järvi, The Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, Staatskapelle Dresden and Peter Eötvös, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and Vladimir Jurowski, Bamberger Symphoniker and Herbert Blomstedt, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln and François-Xavier Roth, Philadelphia Orchestra and Pablo Heras-Casado, Helsinki Philharmonic and Susanna Mälkki, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and Klaus Mäkelä, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda and Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Leonard Slatkin etc. 

Akiko Suwanai is the Artistic Director of the International Music Festival NIPPON which she launched in 2012. She also served as a jury member at the prestigious competitions including Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow as well as Concours international Long-Thibaud-Crespin in Paris.

As well as winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition, Akiko Suwanai has won numerous awards. These include the International Paganini Competition and the Queen Elisabeth International Competition. She studied at the Toho Gakuen School of Music with Toshiya Eto, Columbia University, and the Juilliard School of Music with Dorothy DeLay and Cho-Liang Lin, and at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin with Uwe-Martin Haiberg. Her extensive discography with Universal Music and Decca Classics has garnered much critical acclaim in Japan and worldwide. In 2019, Sony Music releases recording of music by Toru Takemitsu featuring his works for violin and orchestra performed by Akiko Suwanai and the NHK Symphony Orchestra under direction of Paavo Järvi.

Akiko Suwanai performs on the Stradivarius ‘Dolphin’ violin from 1714, one of the most famous violins known today and previously owned by Jascha Heifetz, which has been kindly loaned to her by the Nippon Music Foundation.