Kumiko Sakamoto


Kumiko Sakamoto, violin

Kumiko Sakamoto is a devoted performer, chamber musician, and multi-faceted artist. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout North America, France, Poland, and Italy, including performances at the Kennedy Center, Massey Hall, St. Sulpice (Paris), and Teatro la Fenice (Venice). Kumiko recorded the first album of works by Italian composer Gino Gorini under the Tactus (Naxos) label which was released in 2015.

After studying with Michael van der Sloot in the Medicine Hat College Conservatory Academy, Kumiko went on to receive an Artist Certificate from Mount Royal University where she studied with William van der Sloot, a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and a Master’s degree in Chamber Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she studied with Ian Swensen. She received a Minor in Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Pamela Fry.

As a founding member of the Thalea String Quartet, Kumiko has performed recitals in Italy, France, the United States and Canada and was appointed as the first quartet-in-residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 2015-17. Kumiko is a dedicated educator and brings her commitment to teaching and community engagement to the Thalea String Quartet’s frequent educational and community performances. Kumiko is a violin faculty member at Starr King Elementary, MidPeninsula Music Academy, and has a private studio as well.

Kumiko has won numerous awards in Rotary and Kiwanis Music Festivals and for eight years she had the honour to participate in the Alberta Provincial Music Festival in several disciplines: violin, voice, musical theatre, and chamber music, winning a number of awards and placing first in each category. Quartets which Kumiko has been a member of have twice been recommended to the Canadian National Music Festival where they placed second and third. At Morningside Music Bridge in Calgary, her quartet won first place in the Chamber Music Competition. As a soloist, Kumiko has had four opportunities to play with orchestra as a finalist in the Medicine Hat Symphonic Society Concerto Competition and placed first in the competition in 2008.

Artists Kumiko has had the honour to work with include such well known artists as Leonidas Kavakos, Krzysztof Penderecki, Gerardo Ribiero, Nicola Benedetti, Kathleen Winkler, Tadeusz Gadzina, Pinchas Zukerman, Menahem Pressler, Joel Smirnoff, Benjamin Zander, Miriam Fried, Paul Katz, and Mark O’Connor. Her chamber groups have worked with the Shanghai Quartet, Ying Quartet, Vogler Quartet, Tokyo Quartet and the Borromeo String Quartet. Kumiko’s musical interests extend past classical music and she has performed with artists of other genres such as Oscar Lopez, Fred Penner, Pavlo, Tower of Power, BADBADNOTGOOD, and Journey. As a chamber musician, Kumiko has performed with artists such as Bonnie Hampton, Jennifer Kulp, Jodi Levitz, Caroline Shaw, the Borromeo Quartet, and Geoff Nuttall.

Festivals Kumiko has attending include the Zephyr Festival in Courmayeur, Italy, Morningside Music Bridge in Gdansk, Poland and in Calgary, Alberta, Le Domaine Forget in Quebec, Valhalla Summer School of Music in Silverton, British Columbia, and a Walnut Hill School (New England Conservatory) summer program which included a performance at the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival and a ten day concert tour of Paris. In the summer of 2012, Kumiko performed the music of Gino Gorini at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice. After performing at La Fenice, Kumiko was asked back to the festival lo spirito della musica di Venezia concert series at Teatro La Fenice in 2013 to perform solo and chamber concerts with works by Casella, Gorini, Malipiero, Shostakovich, and Stravinsky.

Kumiko’s passion for the arts extends to voice, dance, and theatre, each of which she has studied for many years. She has received many awards, including first place in violin, voice and musical theatre at the Alberta Provincial Music Festival, and a chamber music award at the Canadian National Music Festival. Kumiko is currently a member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus where she continues to pursue her love of singing. A dancer for most of her life, Kumiko still enjoys attending ballet classes in her spare time, as well as cooking healthy meals and baking for her friends and family.


 Photos © Valentina Sadiul