Yamaha Young Performing Artist, Kanako Shimasaki of Springfield, Ohio, began studying violin at the age of four. As a soloist, Kanako has been featured on Discover Classical 88.1, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC and has appeared as guest soloist with the National Symphony Summer Music Institute Orchestra, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, CCM Philharmonia and Artaria Ensemble, and Great Wall Soloists.
Previous summer festival highlights include: Aspen Music Festival, Mimir Chamber Music Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival and National Symphony Orchestra National Trustees Summer Music Institute, where she was awarded the Levine Award and made her Kennedy Center solo debut.
Kanako is a founding member of “Three,” a collaborative trio with Luke Gillespie, Professor of Piano/Jazz at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and her sister, Mariko. Together, they have played in concert series’ around Japan and the United States, most recently appearing at the Millennium Stage in DC, John Legend Theater, and the Kyoto City International Foundation. Her other collaborations have included performing benefit concerts with musicians from Japan and Ohio to raise funds for the people devastated by the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and aftermath; all proceeds were sent to the Japanese Red Cross Society for immediate relief, long-term rebuilding, and economic recovery in Japan.
Kanako received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees, and is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree, all with full scholarships, from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM.) Her primary teachers include Kurt Sassmannshaus and Won-Bin Yim. While at CCM, she was a winner of the Chamber Music Competition in 2012 and 2015 and the Brandenburg Concerto Competition in 2013. She currently serves as a teaching assistant and is on the faculty in CCM’s Preparatory Department.