Akiko Suwanai

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, performing chamber music worldwide and engaging at the highest-level with orchestras and conductors internationally.  

Suwanai begins the 2023/24 season with Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto conducted by Tabita Berglund, a concerto she will reprise later this year for Palm Beach Symphony. Known for her breadth of repertoire, other season highlights include a recording of Vaughan-Williams’ The Lark Ascending with Antwerp Symphony Orchestra alongside conductor and close collaborator, Jun Märkl, returning to Toshio Hosokawa’s music, to play Genesis as part of the Gaida Festival, and joining Festival Strings Lucerne at the Hong Kong Arts Festival for Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No.5. 

Another prominent feature of the season is a return to the violin concertos of Mozart with a range of leading orchestras and for performances of the complete concertos at the Tokyo based International Music Festival Nippon, of which she has been Artistic Director since 2012. 

As well as notable concerto appearances, Suwanai will give significant recital tours with pianist, Evgeni Bozhanov performing Brahms’ three Sonatas for Violin and Piano, which will become the focus of her next release for Universal Music in Spring 2024. The tours will take in China including dates in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai and six-dates across Japan with performances in Sapporo, Hiroshima, and Nagano.  

Highlights in previous seasons included performances with BBC Symphony Orchestra/Bringuier, Rotterdam Philharmonic/Shani, Duisburg Philharmoniker/Bellincampi and Hong Kong Philharmonic/Jaap van Zweden. With the Nippon Festival in previous seasons, she has premiered new works including Karol Beffa’s A Floating World alongside The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Dai Fujikura’s Pitter-Patter with Boris Berezovsky. 

Suwanai has long standing relationships with Martha Argerich and took part in her birthday celebrations in summer 2021 and in previous seasons has performed at the prestigious Rosendal and Stresa Festivals. Also a regular recitalist, the 2022/23 season included performances with Ilya Rashkovsky in Taiwan, Tomoki Sakata in Japan, and Bozhanov in Duisburg. 

Universally acclaimed for her performances of the core violin repertoire, Suwanai released the Complete Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin by Bach for Universal in 2022, followed by a solo recital tour across Japan including concerts in Tokyo and Nagoya. She is recognised for her master interpretations of lesser performed works and passion for new music and in previous seasons has recorded works by Takemitsu with the NHK Symphony Orchestra/​Järvi, 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. Suwanai has also given Asian premiers 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.