Kumiko Sakamoto is a devoted performer, chamber musician, and multi-talented artist. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout North America, France, Poland, and Italy. Kumiko recorded the first album of Gino Gorini's works under the Tactus label which was released in 2015. Kumiko holds a Master's degree in Chamber Music and a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she studied violin with Ian Swensen and voice with Pamela Fry. The Thalea String Quartet, of which she is a member, recently completed their tenure as the first Quartet-in-Residence at San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
She 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. In 2010 Kumiko was chosen to attend a week-long residency with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.
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, and Journey. As a chamber musician, Kumiko has performed with artists such as Bonnie Hampton, Jennifer Kulp, Jodi Levitz, and Bettina Mussumeli. At a recent Chamber Music Residency at The Banff Centre, the Thalea String Quartet worked with Gilbert Kallish, Alasdair Tait and Mark Steinberg.
Kumiko has attended 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.
She previously studied with William van der Sloot at Mount Royal University in Calgary where she was awarded an Advanced Performer’s Certificate in 2011. Kumiko is a native of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, where she began her violin studies at the age of five. She was a member of the Medicine Hat College Conservatory Academy for Gifted Students for seven years and was a student of Michael van der Sloot for ten years. Kumiko has been concertmaster in both the Medicine Hat Academy Orchestra and Calgary Youth Symphony. Her passion for the arts extends to voice, dance, and theatre, each of which she has studied for many years. Kumiko is currently working with the Thalea String Quartet in San Francisco, the Gorini Quintet, and One Found Sound.
Kumiko was the thankful recipient of the The Peter and Jacqueline Hoefer Scholarship, 2016-17, the San Francisco Conservatory Quartet Fellowship, 2015-17, the Walter Oppenheim Violin Scholarship in 2013-2016, and she is also grateful for support from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.