Akiko Fujimoto named associate conductor of Minnesota Orchestra
MINNEAPOLIS (June 27, 2018) — The Minnesota Orchestra announced Wednesday that Akiko Fujimoto, who joined the Orchestra’s artistic roster as assistant conductor in 2017, has been named associate conductor for the 2018-19 season.
In her first year in Minnesota, Fujimoto served as a cover conductor for Classical subscription and Live at Orchestra Hall concerts, conducted the Orchestra’s Common Chords performances in Mankato in April, led Young People’s concerts throughout the season and led educational sessions with high school students on the Orchestra’s January 2018 tour to Indiana and Illinois. This summer, she conducts the Orchestra’s annual Symphony for the Cities concerts (July 9 to 15)—which feature free outdoor performances in Minneapolis, Plymouth, Winona, in Minnesota, and in Hudson, Wis. She will also lead the ensemble’s first full-orchestra Sensory-Friendly Family concert on July 14 at Orchestra Hall.
“Working with the Minnesota Orchestra this season has been a dream come true,” said Fujimoto. “I am truly grateful for the opportunity to continue absorbing the sounds of this Orchestra and to continue learning from the mentorship of Music Director Osmo Vänskä.”
The Minnesota Orchestra’s assistant and associate conductor roles offer a wide variety of conducting opportunities within the organization. Additionally, these conductors serve as a link to the community, participating in engagement activities, school visits and collaborations with other Minnesota arts and cultural institutions.
“Akiko has been a welcome addition to our conducting staff,” said Director of Artistic Planning Kari Marshall. “She has shown great commitment to the Orchestra’s education initiatives at Orchestra Hall, on tour and through our high school Symphonic Adventures program, and she has developed a strong working relationship with musicians and staff throughout her first season with the Orchestra. We look forward to continuing these relationships as she steps into the associate conductor role.”
Fujimoto joined the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2017 as assistant conductor after serving five and a half seasons as the associate conductor of the San Antonio Symphony, where she conducted classical, pops, education and baroque concerts as well as ballet. As a guest conductor, she has performed with the Houston Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, Round Rock Symphony Orchestra and Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Additionally, she has conducted Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra as a participant in the Young Conductors Program and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the St. Magnus Festival. Prior to arriving in Texas, she served as the conducting associate for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
Fujimoto has extensive experiences working with young musicians, starting at Harvard University where she directed the Mozart Society Orchestra and at Stanford University, with her leadership of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. In Virginia, she held the positions of Director of Orchestras at the College of William & Mary and Music Director of the Williamsburg Youth Orchestras. Born in Japan, Fujimoto moved to the United States at age 14 and attended Stanford University where she studied music and psychology. She holds master’s degrees in choral and orchestral conducting from Boston University and the Eastman School of Music. More: minnesotaorchestra.org, akikofujimotoconductor.com.
Led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä, the Minnesota Orchestra is recognized as one of America’s leading orchestras. Founded in 1903, it performs nearly 160 concerts each year, with 300,000 attending, and reaches more than 85,000 music lovers annually through its education and engagement programs. It is heard widely through award-winning recordings—including a Sibelius album that won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance—as well as via an acclaimed series of weekly radio broadcasts produced by Minnesota Public Radio. The Orchestra makes its home at the acoustically brilliant Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis. minnesotaorchestra.org.