Concertmaster | Violinist
Celebrated violinist Akemi Takayama has served as the concertmaster of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra since 2004. In this vital leadership role, she brings to our orchestra an extraordinary depth of musicianship, glorious solo sound, vibrant stage presence and natural musical leadership. Ms. Takayama appears regularly as soloist and concertmaster of the RSO, and Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra as well as an active chamber musician and associate professor at the Shenandoah University Conservatory of Music where she holds the Victor Brown Endowed Chair. Ms. Takayama is currently in her fourteenth year as violinist for the internationally renowned Audubon Quartet, and tours regionally and nationally with the group. Her recordings with the Audubon Quartet include four CDs, all available on the Centaur and Composers Recordings labels.
Born to musical parents in Tokyo, Japan, Takayama began her violin studies with her mother at the age of three. Her professional violin career began in Japan at the age of 15. She has performed throughout Japan, France, and the U.S., including appearances with the Shinsei-Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Toho School of Music Orchestra, and on a “FM Recital” broadcast throughout Japan on NHK Radio. She also has performed with the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, the Yomiuri Philharmonic Orchestra, Music at Gretna, and with the New World Symphony Orchestra. Her solo performances in the U.S. have included radio and TV appearances in the greater Cleveland area and with the Cleveland Institute of Music Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Junction Orchestra, and the University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra.
Akemi Takayama received first prize in both the Northwest Regional Music Teacher National Association and the Grand Junction Young Artist competitions. She has performed at and served on the faculties of the Chautauqua Institute in New York, the Idyllwild School of the Arts in California, the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, Shenandoah Performs in Virginia and at Virginia Tech. During her graduate studies, Akemi was a teaching assistant to the renowned Donald Weilerstein at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she earned both an Artist Diploma and a Master of Music degree. Previously, she studied with Toshiya Eto and Ryosaku Kubota at the renowned Toho School of Music in Tokyo, where she earned her bachelor degree in music performance. She also studied with Brian Hanly at the University of Wyoming where she earned her professional studies degree. Ms. Takayama won a position in the prestigious Marlboro Music Festival and the Isaac Stern Music Workshop. The late Isaac Stern said of Ms. Takayama “she is a true musician and will always bring credit to any group that she works with.” Akemi indeed brings great credit to the RSO and to our region.
Ms. Takayama plays a J.B. Ceruti violin from Cremona, Italy, made in 1805.