Tomohiro Okumura

1993

Violin

Competition Winner

Born: June 1, 1969 (Tokyo, Japan)

Tomohiro Okumura began studying the violin at age four. In 1984, he claimed the 1st prize, Masuzawa Award at the 53rd Japanese Music Competition. After high school, he attended The Juilliard School where he studied with Dorothy DeLay and Masao Kawasaki as a scholarship student. By 1990, he made his debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Concert Orchestra playing Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole. He won the Karl Flesch International Violin Competition in 1992, earning a special accolade for his Paganini rendition. In 1993, he won the Naumburg International Violin Competition and performed across the U.S., gaining acclaim from prominent publications.

His 1994, his New York debut at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center was lauded by The New York Times. He has also showcased his talent at venues like the Kennedy Center and in Japan with orchestras like the NHK Symphony. His television appearances include Nippon Television's "Midnight Concert" in 1998. Between 2000-2012, he held the "Tomohiro Okumura Salon Concert Series" at Daikanyama Hillside Plaza.

Settling in Japan in 2002, Okumura toured Japan, the U.S., and Europe. He has released three CDs, earning accolades from "Mostly Classic" magazine. Since 2009, he’s also been teaching at the National College of Music’s affiliated schools.

Excerpt, The New York Times review, March 3, 1994 (Tomohiro Okumura's Naumburg recital)

Reviews/Music; Bartok in an Eastern Light

"The Asian-born performers who have become an integral part of musical life in recent decades have, for the most part, mastered the codes of Western musical tradition without greatly revising them. One rarely hears performances that show traces of a separate cultural tradition. Hence the surprise and fascination of Tomohiro Okumura's recital at Alice Tully Hall on Monday night. This young Japanese violinist, the recipient of the 1993 Naumburg Award, played Bartok's First Sonata with a cool, rapt, meditative detachment that put the music in an intriguing new light.

It should be noted first that Mr. Okumura is a player of considerable technical fluency and tonal polish. Bach's Sonata in A, first on the program, promised an evening of refined, restrained musicianship; Saint-Saens's First Sonata, with its dazzling 16th-note cascades, added virtuoso glitter at the end. But the intense molding and shaping of sustained tones in the Bartok sonata alerted one to an unusual temperament. It somehow sounded more Japanese than Toru Takemitsu's tone-picture "Hika" (also on the program), without seeming at all unidiomatic.

Rohan De Silva's accompaniments were sensitive but often too muted... it was clear that the Naumburg judges have found another distinctive young talent." Alex Ross

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