Coordinator of String Studies, Professor, Violin and Viola
Masao Kawasak, leads an exciting and versatile international career as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, teacher and pedagogue of both violin and viola. His multifaceted career and expertise in all areas has resulted in the development of musicians that now enjoy careers in every realm of the music field.
An active soloist, Kawasaki performs extensively with numerous orchestras throughout Europe, Asia and North America, including appearances with NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica de Bilbao, Orchestra de Valencia, Aspen Festival Orchestra, Miyazaki International Music Festival Orchestra, Mito Chamber Orchestra and in Carnegie Hall with the Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra.
Kawasaki's passion for chamber music has lead to collaborations with the world's most distinguished and sought-after artists, including Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell, Yo-Yo Ma, Yefim Bronfman, Jaime Laredo, Cho-Liang Lin, Joseph Suk, Nadja Solerno-Sonnenberg and Leon Fleischer. Additionally, he is the violist of the Japan Piano Quartet. He has made guest appearances with the Tokyo, Emerson, Juilliard, American, Mito, and Halley string quartets. For 25 years he was a resident member of the New Jersey Chamber Music Society; currently he is featured regularly on series such as the Berge Music Series, Linton Music Series and Aspen Music Festival Artist/Faculty Series.
As a recording artist, Kawasaki has recorded for CBS Sony, EMI, Nonesuch, Phillips and Bis labels and has been featured in live broadcasts on radio stations globally. Numerous television appearances include NHK-TV Classic Hours, the Great Performances series on PBS and NHK Television. Festival appearances include the Spoleto, Rockport, Casals, Mostly Mozart, Nagano/Aspen, Aspen, Miyazaki International Chamber Music Festivals and Viola Space.
Critically acclaimed for his excellence as both a violinist and violist, Kawasaki is frequently invited to serve on juries of international competitions for both violin and viola, such as the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition and the Tertis International Viola Competition, as well as several national violin and viola competitions in Japan.
Kawasaki's students enjoy careers as soloists, chamber musicians, concertmasters, associate concertmasters and principal players of major orchestras (including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic, Hamburg Symphony, Valencia Symphony and NHK Symphony), chamber musicians, and professors of major universities and conservatories worldwide. His excellence and quality of teaching was acknowledged in 2004 when he received the prestigious Presidential Scholars Program Teacher Recognition Award. Other teaching awards include the 1990 Glover Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award.
In 1980 he joined the violin/viola faculty of the Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College, where he is the chair of the String Department. He is also a member of the violin/viola faculties of The Juilliard School, the University of Cincinnati College—Conservatory of Music and the Aspen Music Festival and School. From 1980 through 1983 Kawasaki was a member of the violin/viola faculty of the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts. He regularly conducts master classes at universities and festivals on three continents. Recent highlights include master classes in Shanghai and Beijing, the Ishikawa Music Academy, Rice University, Stony Brook SUNY, Juilliard, Aspen Music School, and Festival and Viola Space.
Kawasaki's teachers include Ryosako Kubato and Hideo Saito at the Toho School and Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School. He resides with his wife, Fumiko, in New York.