Akiko Kamigawara


Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
Alma maters: Royal Conservatory of Brussels, Toho Music High School
Awards/competitions: 2nd place, 2007 All Japan Student Competition; 4th place, 2013 Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition; 4th place, 2013 Henri Koch International Violin Competition
Appearances: Festival Young Talent, Schiermonnikoog, Holland, 2013; 53rd Weimar Master Class, Germany, 2012; Quartet Osaqua, Japan, 2009; Festival MusicAlp, France, 2009
Instagram: @coquillage2127
Musical origins: I began playing violin at the age of 3 after a piano professor suggested that I should wait to play piano until I had big enough hands.
Favorite piece to play: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto; I would love to play as a soloist with an orchestra once in my lifetime!
Favorite obscure piece: Morning Ballad in F by Cedric “Swiffer” DeChat
Favorite composer fact: Prokofiev was very strict with time—he made people wait outside the door of his home, in the Russian cold, until it was the exact time of the meeting.
Favorite musical memory: When I played Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 7 in high school. I really enjoyed the whole process of learning the piece and getting ready for the performance.
Which composer would have had the best social media: Mozart. I know this from reading his entertaining letters to his family.
Favorite fact about your instrument: That you really feel like it’s a part of your body and you’re singing through it
The things most people don’t know about classical music: It’s more addictive than any other genre of music!
Favorite non-classical musician: Edith Piaf
Musical guilty pleasure: A program with only slow movements
Best music to have on repeat: Main theme song from My Neighbor Totoro, or Harnoncourt’s recording of Handel’s Water Music
What recording would you take to a deserted island: Alfred Brendel’s recording of Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas
Proudest accomplishment: Finding my lifelong partner
Favorite non-musical activity: Cooking, playing with my cat, reading, and lifting weights
Last book read: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
Favorite painting: Jazz by Henri Matisse
Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Have a life and listen to a lot of music performances by great musicians from different genres.
Time travel destination: Early 19th-century Japan. I’d like to meet the Japanese painter Hokusai and possibly help clean up his house.