In profile: Shunské Sato

Next month we’re very excited to be presenting Japanese-American violin-virtuoso Shunské Sato for his UK debut, playing Paganini’s Second Violin Concerto. Shunské is little known in the UK, but has been wowing audiences across the US, Japan and Europe since his debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra at the prodigious age of ten.

Read on to find out more about Shunské, and be sure to join us for these thrilling concerts. The programme also includes Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ symphony, and you can hear it at West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge on 10 October (more details) and at Cadogan Hall in London on 12 October (more details).

Shunské Sato

About Shunské

Born in Tokyo in 1984, Shunské first took up the violin at the age of two. Immigrating to America with his parents two years later, he began his studies at the renowned Juilliard School in New York. In 2003 he moved to Paris for further study until, captivated by the world of original instruments, he moved to Munich in 2009 to study at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München.

Shunské made his American debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of ten, giving a performance which catapulted him to international fame. Appearances with the Baltimore, National and Seattle Symphony Orchestras quickly followed, alongside performances with all the major orchestras in Japan. In Europe he has performed with, among others, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bavarian Radio Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the State Symphony Orchestra of Russia. He also appears as an orchestral member with numerous baroque groups.

In 2009 Shunské made the world-premiere recording of Niccolò Paganini’s Twenty-Four Caprices on a period violin. His other discs include Eugène Ysaÿe’s Six Sonatas for solo violin and  Edvard Grieg’s complete sonatas for violin and piano. You can listen to samples on Shunské’s website here.

Shunské and the AAM

In 2010, Shunské entered the 17th International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig, where he won the audience prize. One of the judges was AAM Music Director Richard Egarr, who was immediately struck by Shunske’s playing:

“I had heard from a trusted colleague about Shunské in 2009.  I was lucky enough to hear him in the 2010 Bach competition prize-winners concert, and I realised straight away that Shunské is a born communicator and stage animal, both of which are attributes that almost always appeal to me (and more importantly to audiences).  I was extremely keen to find a way for us to work together, and am absolutely thrilled to be able to present him with AAM in such an exciting way with the Paganini Concerto.”

Watch Shunské in action

The New York Times on Shunské’s New York debut

“Shunské Sato, the 16-year-old violinist who played his New York debut recital last Tuesday evening, appeared in every way to be ready to play in public, and his concert was a knockout. Mr. Sato was born in Tokyo, moved to the United States when he was 3, and won the Young Concert Auditions when he was 12. He has developed an astonishing level of poise and musicality, and he looked entirely comfortable onstage, playing his entire program from memory but with a suppleness that made it clear that he was not playing by rote.”

“an astonishing level of poise and musicality… with plenty of dazzling moments”

“Technical challenges seemed not to faze him, but it was the fluidity of his playing that impressed, rather than its muscularity. There were plenty of dazzling moments, though. The opening movement of Strauss’s youthful Sonata (Op. 18) was enlivened by Mr. Sato’s drive, focus and dynamic subtlety. He drew sparks in both the Bizet-Waxman ‘Carmen’ Fantasy and in the prismatic Bachian counterpoint of Ysaye’s unaccompanied Sonata No. 2. More striking, though, was the poetry he brought to the Andante cantabile of the Strauss and a transcription of Debussy’s ‘Plus Que Lent,’ and the atmospheric charm in his account of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s ‘Alt Wien.'”

NEW YORK TIMES, 2000

Find out more

You can browse Shunské’s profile on the AAM website here, or visit his own website here.

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