Akemi Takayama, Concertmaster, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra

Violinist Akemi Takayama

Friend, colleague, leader, mentor, international soloist and collaborator, Akemi Takayama is an icon and musical pillar for the RSO family.  Akemi serves as RSO concertmaster, beloved by audiences for her warm presence and her sweet sound, and she defines the word master with poise and sensitivity.

Born to musical parents in Tokyo, Akemi began her violin studies at home with her mother at the age of three.    From an early age, Akemi was heard throughout Japan, including appearances with the Shinsei-Tokyo Philharmonic, the Toho School of Music Orchestra and on FM Recital, broadcast in Japan on NHK Radio. She has also performed with the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, the Yomiuri Philharmonic Orchestra, Music at Gretna, and the New World Symphony Orchestra.

As a student, Akemi won positions in the prestigious Marlboro Music Festival and the Isaac Stern Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall.  She received first prize in the Music Teachers National Association Northwest Regional competition and the Grand Junction Young Artist competition. She earned both an Artist Diploma and a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, serving as an assistant to violinist and pedagogue Donald Weilerstein. She also studied with Toshiya Eto and Ryosaku Kubota at the Toho School of Music in Tokyo and with Brian Hanly at the University of Wyoming.

As a chamber musician, Akemi most recently collaborated and performs in duo with renowned Irish pianist John O’Conor and she previously performed in the recently retired Audubon Quartet, of which she was a member for fourteen years.  Akemi’s recordings with the quartet include four CDs, available on the Centaur and Composers Recordings labels.

In addition to her leadership role as concertmaster of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Akemi holds the same position with the Williamsburg Symphonia and she serves as an associate professor at Shenandoah University Conservatory of Music.

Akemi has served on the faculties at Oberlin Conservatory, Virginia Tech, the Chautauqua Institute in New York, the Idyllwild School of the Arts in California, the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, and the Shenandoah Performs Festival.