• Artistic Director
    of International

    Akiko Suwanaia

  • Piano

    Nicolas Angelich

  • Violin

    Svetlin Roussev

  • Cello


  • Piano

    Markus Groh

  • Music DirectorConductor


  • Viola

    Ryo Sasaki

  • Orchestra


  • Violin

    Tatsuki Narita

  • Viola

    Yasuhiro Suzuki

  • Viola

    Tomohiro Arita

  • Cello

    Michiaki Ueno

  • Contrabass

    Hiroshi Ikematsu

  • Oboe

    Mizuho Yoshii

  • Clarinet

    Taira Kaneko

  • Bassoon

    Rie Koyama

  • Horn

    Takeshi Hidaka

  • Piano

    Tomoki Sakata

  • Piano

    Yoko Kikuchi

Akiko Suwanai(Violin / Artistic Director of International Music Festival NIPPON 2020)

Akiko Suwanai was the youngest ever winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1990. She has performed with the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, and Berlin Philharmonic, under the batons of Ozawa, Maazel, Dutoit, and Sawallisch, just to name a few. She has appeared in numerous international music festivals including the BBC Proms, Schleswig-Holstein, Lucerne and others. In 2018, Akiko Suwanai participated in Marth Argerich’s chamber music festival in Hamburg, the Rosendal Festival with Leif Ove Andsnes, and the Bratislava Music Festival, and performed with the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire and Staatskapelle Dresden. She also performed with Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin in Berlin and Japan in February and March 2019. Suwanai was a jury member of the violin divisions of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium in 2012 and 2015, and of the Concours International Long-Thibaud-Crespin in 2018. Since 2012, Akiko Suwanai has been Artistic Director of the International Music Festival NIPPON, which she plans and produces. She has released 14 CDs on the Decca label.
Akiko Suwanai studied at Toho Gakuen Music High School and completed the Soloists’ Diploma Course of Toho Gakuen College of Music. After studying at the Juilliard School and Columbia University on the Artist Overseas Training program sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, she received a master’s degree in Music from the Juilliard School. She also studied at the Universität der Künste Berlin. Akiko Suwanai performs on the Stradivarious “Dolphin” violin from 1714, which has been loaned to her by the Nippon Music Foundation.

Nicolas Angelich(Piano)

Nicolas Angelich was born in the United States in 1970. He studied with Aldo Ciccolini, Michel Beroff and others at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. In 1989 he won 2nd prize in the International Piano Competition R. Casadesus in Cleveland, and in 1994, 1st prize in the International Piano Competition Gina Bachauer. Since his orchestra debut with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Kurt Masur in 2003, he has performed with the world’s leading conductors and orchestras, such as Vladimir Jurowski, Marc Minkowski, Paavo Järvi, the Russian National Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, and Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. His recording of Brahms’ Piano Trio No. 1 with Renaud and Gautier Capuçon received the German Record Critics’ Award.

Svetlin Roussev(Violin)

Since winning the first prize at the widely acclaimed first Sendai International Competition in May 2001, the charismatic violin virtuoso Svetlin Roussev enjoys a prestigious international career in many of the world’s major concert halls, including the Bolshoi Theatre and Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Suntory Hal in Tokyo, Seoul Arts Center, Salle Pleyel, UNESCO, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Théâtre du Châtelet, Cité de la Musique, Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, Bulgaria National Concert Hall, Budapest’s Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, Konzerhaus in Berlin, Centro Cultural Kirchner in Buenos Aires, Palais des Beaux Arts de Bruxelles and the Palais of the United Nations in Geneva. Roussev is a regular guest soloist with various orchestras such as the Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre National de Belgique, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra (Bucharest), Romanian National Radio Orchestra, Cremerata Baltica, Bulgarian National Radio among others. In the USA, Latin America, Asia and Europe he has performed under the baton of conductors such as Myung-Whun Chung, Leon Fleisher, Yehudi Menuhin, Yuzo Toyama, Marek Janowski, Emmanuel Krivine, François-Xavier Roth, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Denis Russel-Davies, Lionel Bringuier and Emil Tabakov. Svetlin has been leading and conducting various ensembles and orchestras since 2000 in Bulgaria, France, Poland, Korea, Japan and Sweden. Roussev shares his love for music with an ever-widening public through his chamber music performances, playing with partners such as Myung-Whun Chung, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yeol-Eum Son, Peter Frankl, Ralph Gothoni, Jean-Marc Luisada, Bertrand Chamayou, Jean-Philippe Collard, Antoine Tamestit, Maxim Rysanov, Gary Hoffman, Gautier Capuçon, Jian Wang, François Leleux, Paul Meyer, Nikolaj Znaider, Ning Feng. He is a founding member of the Roussev-Salque-Rozanova Trio. With remarkable virtuosity and intensity, Svetlin performs a broad repertoire ranging from the baroque to the contemporary. He is renowned for his renditions of Slavic compositions and keenly promotes Bulgarian music. Acclaimed Bulgarian Musician of the Year in 2006, his home country honoured him again in 2007 and 2016 with the Cristal Lyra distinction awarded by the Ministry of Culture. In 2018, Mr Roussev became an Honorary Citizen of his hometown Ruse, along with the Nobel Prize of literature Elias Canetti. In February 2019 Svetlin received the Presidential Honorary Award from the Bulgarian President Radev himself. Following his successful CD recording of pieces by Pancho Vladigerov with the pianist Elena Rozanova (Ambroisie) Roussev brought out his recording of Karl Amadeus Hartmann ’s Concerto Funèbre with the Orchestre d’Auvergne, sonatas by Grieg and Medtner with pianist Frédéric D’Oria-Nicolas, "Fire and Ice" with the Sibelius and Vladigerov n1 violin concertos conducted by Emil Tabakov and the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra under the French labels Integral and Fondamenta. In 2016, DECCA released the piano trios by Mendelssohn n1 and Dvorak "Dumky" with Elena Rozanova and François Salque followed by works by Ysaÿe for violin and orchestra (Musique en Wallonie) and Lalo Symphonie Espagnole (Arcantus) under the baton of Jean-Jacques Kantorow. Most recent recording is the album Midnight Bells with pianist Yeol-Eum Son (YESM&ART). Roussev is a professor at his alma mater at the prestigious Haute École de Musique in Geneva after 10 years being a professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris. He has been giving violin and chamber music masterclass around the world. He is also the artistic advisor and artist in residence of the March Music Days International Festival in his hometown Ruse after serving as artistic director and artist in residence of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra. Svetlin Roussev has won numerous prizes at many international competitions, including Indianapolis, Long-Thibaud and Melbourne. At the Sendai International Music Competition he also garnered the audience prize and the Best Bach concerto performance. He began his musical education at a very young age, studying under his mother, a professor at the music school in his home town of Ruse, Bulgaria. At the age of 15, he was accepted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris where he studied under Gérard Poulet, Devy Erlih and Jean-Jacques Kantorow. Three years later, the jury unanimously awarded him the first prize for violin and chamber music. Subsequently he entered the postgraduate program. Svetlin Roussev performs on the Stradivarius 1710 Camposelice violin kindly loaned by the Nippon Music Foundation.

Henri Demarquette(Cello)

Born in Paris in 1970, Henri Demarquette enrolled in the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris at the age of 13, where he studied with Gendron, Fournier, and Tortelier. He went on to study with Starker in the United States.
At age 17, Demarquette made his recital debut at the Théâtre du Châtelet. A prize winner of many competitions, including the Rostropovich International Cello Competition, Henri Demarquette also regularly performs contemporary music. Widely recognized for his nuanced expression, he has recorded many CDs including an album of French music performed with Brigitte Engerer.
Henri Demarquette plays the “le Vaslin” cello made by Stradivarius in 1725 and loaned by the LVMH Foundation, with a “Persois” bow dated 1820.

Markus Groh(Piano)

Pianist Markus Groh gained immediate world attention after winning the Queen Elisabeth International Competition in 1995, the first German to do so. Since then his remarkable “sound imagination” and astonishing technique, have confirmed his place among the finest pianists in the world.
During the current season, Mr. Groh made his debut with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica under Carl St. Clair, performing the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1. Later this season, he returns to the U.S. on tour with the Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartet, in the Morgan Library Chamber Music Series. In 2018/2019, he will make debuts with the Pacific Symphony and the National Symphony of Colombia, as well as return appearances with the Omaha Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica.
Markus Groh has also appeared with the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, National/Washington, D.C., the New York Philharmonic, Omaha, Philadelphia, Saint Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver, among others. Worldwide engagements include the Beijing Symphony, Berlin Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Residentie Orkest/The Hague, Helsinki Philharmonic, London Symphony, Malmö Symphony, MDR Orchestra/Leipzig Gewandhaus, New Japan Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, to name a few.
A spellbinding recitalist, Mr. Groh draws from the piano shapes, textures, and colors that one seldom hears in live performance. In addition to his stunning debut on the Hayes Piano Series at the Kennedy Center in 2013, he has appeared at the Friends of Chamber Music series in Denver and Kansas City, the Vancouver Recital Society, and several times at The Frick Collection in New York. Chamber music activities include regular tours with the Tokyo String Quartet and the newly-founded Berlin Philharmonic Piano Quartet.
Widely acclaimed for his interpretations of Liszt, Markus Groh was a student of Professor Konrad Richter in Stuttgart and Professor Hans Leygraf in Berlin and Salzburg. He has recently been named Professor of Piano at the University of the Arts in Berlin.

Gianandrea Noseda
(Music director / Conductor)

Gianandrea Noseda is one of the world’s most sought-after conductors, equally recognized for his artistry in both the concert hall and opera house. He was named the National Symphony Orchestra’s seventh music director in January 2016 and began his four-year term with the 2017–2018 season. He leads 12 weeks of subscription concerts with the Orchestra this season, as well as their first appearance together at Carnegie Hall in New York in May 2019. In addition to his position with the NSO, Noseda also serves as Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Conductor of the Orquestra de Cadaqués, and Artistic Director of the Stresa Festival in Italy. In July 2018, the Zurich Opera House appointed him the next General Music Director beginning in the 2021–2022 season where the centerpiece of his tenure will be a new Ring Cycle directed by Andreas Homoki, the opera house’s artistic director. Nurturing the next generation of artists is important to Noseda, as evidenced by his ongoing work in masterclasses and tours with youth orchestras, including the European Union Youth Orchestra, and with his recent appointment as music director of the newly-created Tsinandali Festival and Pan-Caucasian Youth Orchestra in the village of Tsinandali, Georgia, which begins in fall 2019. Noseda has conducted the most important orchestras and at leading opera houses and festivals including the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, La Scala, Munich Philharmonic, Met Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de France, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Opera House, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Salzburg Festival, Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, and Zurich Opera House. From 2007 until 2018, Noseda served as Music Director of Italy’s Teatro Regio Torino where he ushered in a transformative era for the company matched with international acclaim for its productions, tours, recordings, and film projects. Gianandrea Noseda also has a cherished relationship with the Metropolitan Opera dating back to 2002. He returns this season to lead performances of a new production of Adriana Lecouvreur featuring Anna Netrebko, which receives its premiere at the New Year’s Eve Gala on December 31, 2018. In recent years, he has conducted Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, which received its premiere at the New Year’s Eve Gala in 2016, and a critically acclaimed new production of Les pêcheurs de perles which premiered at the New Year’s Eve Gala in 2015. His widely praised interpretation of Prince Igor from the 2013–2014 season is available on DVD from Deutsche Grammophon.

Ryo Sasaki(Viola)

Principal violist of the NHK Symphony Orchestra. Ryo Sasaki holds degrees from Tokyo University of the Arts and The Juilliard School. He was a winner of the Ataka Prize. In 1991, he won 1st prize and the Asahi Contemporary Music Prize at the Contemporary Chamber Music Competition in Japan. In ’92, he was awarded 2nd prize in the Tokyo International Chamber Music Competition (Min-On) and the Lufthansa Prize. From autumn that year, Sasaki attended The Juilliard School in New York as a scholarship student. He also performed in the Aspen and Marlboro music festivals. After graduating, Sasaki performed throughout the United States as both a soloist and chamber musician. He has collaborated with such renowned musicians as Mitsuko Uchida, Hilary Hahn, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Lynn Harrell. Currently he is teaching the next generation of musicians at Toho Gakuen School of Music, Senzoku Gakuen.

The National Symphony Orchestra, Washington

Founded in 1931, NSO is based at the Kennedy Center in the U.S. capital city of Washington, D.C. and performs approximately 150 concerts each year, including chamber music recitals, community outreach and education programs, and popular concerts at the Kennedy Center and at Wolf Trap in summer. NSO fulfills an important role as Americans’ most beloved orchestra, performing at important national events including presidential inaugurations and Independence Day celebrations.
NSO has a history of distinguished music directors, such as Rostropovich, Slatkin and Eschenbach; and in the 2017-18 season, Gianandrea Noseda became the orchestra’s 7th music director. Maestro Noseda has enthusiastically undertaken expansion of the orchestra’s repertoire and support of contemporary composers, and continues to present U.S.-premiere and world-premiere works to Washington audiences.
The orchestra also focuses on educational programs. Many of its members participate in the NSO Youth Fellowship Program and Summer Music Institute, contributing to the education and guidance of specially selected young musicians of talent.

Tatsuki Narita(Violin)

Tatsuki Narita won 2nd prizes in the Long-Thibaud International Competition in 2010, the Queen Elisabeth competition in 2012, and the Sendai International Music Competition in 2013. He has performed with many renowned conductors and orchestras in Japan and other countries.

Yasuhiro Suzuki(Viola)

Yasuhiro Suzuki’s many prizes include 1st prize in the high school division of the Tokyo round of the 47th Student Music Concours of Japan. He is a solo principal violist with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. His wide-ranging activities also include appearances at the Saito Kinen Festival and the Miyazaki International Music Festival.

Tomohiro Arita(Viola)

Having graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, Tomohiro Arita is currently enrolled in the master’s course at the Hanns Eisler College of Music in Berlin. He has performed in the BBC Proms, at the Verbier Music Festival and Lucerne Music Festival, and on the TV Asahi program “Untitled Concert.”

Michiaki Ueno(Cello)

Born in Paraguay. Among his numerous prizes, he became the first-ever Japanese 1st prize winner at the 6th International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. Ueno has performed with many orchestras both in Japan and overseas.

Hiroshi Ikematsu(Contrabass)

Hiroshi Ikematsu is the principal contrabass player of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. He previously served as principal player with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He is a professor at Tokyo University of the Arts and a guest professor at Kunitachi College of Music. As a soloist, Ikematsu performs many recitals in Japan and overseas. He has released seven solo CD albums.

Mizuho Yoshii(Oboe)

Oboist Mizuho Yoshii delights audiences worldwide with her mellifluous timbres and abundant musicianship. She graduated at the top of her class from the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe. Her talent was recognized by Claudio Abbado, and she has served as principal oboist of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra since 2000. Yoshii is also active as a soloist and chamber ensemble player in Europe and Japan.

Taira Kaneko(Clarinet)

After attending Tokyo University of the Arts, Kaneko studied at the Hochschule für Musik Lübeck. His many prizes include 1st prize at the Music Competition of Japan in 2006. He has performed with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Munich Chamber Orchestra and others. He is principal clarinetist of Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra.

Rie Koyama(Bassoon)

Born in Stuttgart, Germany. Koyama has won numerous prizes, including a top prize in the bassoon division of the 62nd Munich International Music Competition. Since 2015, she has been principal bassoonist in the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Orchestra, led by Paavo Jarvi.

Takeshi Hidaka(Horn)

After graduating from the Economics Department of Nagasaki University, Hidaka studied horn at Tokyo University of the Arts and the Conservatorium Maastricht in the Netherlands. Currently he is an associate professor at Tokyo University of the Arts, as well as a lecturer at Kunitachi College of Music and Nagoya College of Music. He is a principal guest musician with the Japan Century Symphony Orchestra.

Tomoki Sakata(Piano)

Tomoki Sakata has won numerous awards, including 1st prize in the 2016 Franz Liszt International Piano Competition in Budapest. In 2018, he made his recital debut at the renowned Leipzig Gewandhaus in Germany. Sakata performs throughout the world and has participated in numerous international music festivals.

Yoko Kikuchi(Piano)

Yoko Kikuchi was catapulted into the limelight when she became the first Japanese first prize winner at the 8th International Mozart Competition in 2002. She subsequently appeared in the Mozart-Matinee series at the Salzburg Festival in 2003, and since then she has been actively performing in Japan and overseas. She is now one of Japan’s leading pianists in terms of both artistry and popularity.
Yoko Kikuchi has achieved success not only in appearances with major Japanese orchestras, but also internationally in recitals, performances with various orchestras, and chamber music concerts. Since 2011, she has frequently been invited to the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. In 2015, her performance with the Afflatus Quintet at the Prague Spring Music Festival was televised on Czech national TV and earned high praise.
In 2009 and 2018, she carried out ambitious projects in which she performed all the piano sonatas of Mozart on the fortepiano and the modern piano, winning favorable reviews.
Yoko Kikuchi has also performed in collaborations with artists from the ballet world, including the internationally celebrated dancers Diana Vishneva and Miyako Yoshida.
She is also active as a recording artist and has released CDs on Avex and Octavia.
Yoko Kikuchi was awarded the 18th Music PenClub Prize for Best Recording by a Japanese Artist, the 1st Jomo Arts and Culture Prize (Music Division), and the 17th Idemitsu Music Award.