The first prize winner of the prestigious Georg Solti International Conductors’ Competition in Frankfurt, Germany, Shizuo Z Kuwahara recently concluded his 7 years tenure as the music director of Symphony Orchestra Augusta. He will be making a debut with Seattle Symphony and Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland this season, as well as returning to conduct Osaka Symphony, Hiroshima Symphony and Tokyo Kosei Wind Ensemble.
A frequent guest conductor of the Nice Philharmonic and Osaka Symphony, Mr. Kuwahara has led performances throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, including performances with Frankfurt Museum Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Century Orchestra Osaka, Nagoya Philharmonic, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, Polish Chamber Philharmonic, Denmark National Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Slaska, Sinfonieorchester den Nationalen Philharmonischen Gesellshaft der Uklaine Kiew, German Radio Symphony Orchestra and L’Orchestre Pasdeloup in France. He has also acted as musical assistant and cover conductor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony and Orchestra de Paris.
Mr. Kuwahara was with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a League of American Orchestras conducting fellow, covering and leading numerous concerts as an apprentice to Christoph Eschenbach. Other past positions include assistant conductor to Seiji Ozawa at the Saito Kinen Festival in summer of 2008, conducting the Ozawa Jyuku Orchestra. He spent his summer of 2006 in Sapporo, Japan serving as an assistant conductor to Valery Gergiev at the Pacific Music Festival. At the beginning of his career, Mr. Kuwahara served as Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Activities at the College of William & Mary and American University, as well as an associate conductor of the Virginia Symphony.
In addition to winning the first prize at the Solti Competition, he received additional prizes from the Malko International Conducting Competition (3rd Prize), Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting, the Prokofiev International Conducting Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia and Fitelberg International Competition in Katowice, Poland. He is also a recipient of Georg Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, Georgia Trend 2011 40 Under 40 - Georgia’s Best & Brightest, Augusta Region’s Top Ten in Ten Young Professionals, 2011 Greater Augusta Arts Council Art Professional Award, and 2011 S&R Washington Award. The City of Yokkaichi, Japan recently appointed him as an Ambassador of Tourism, a city where Mr. Kuwahara grew up.
Born in Tokyo, Mr. Kuwahara received Master’s Degree studied conducting at Yale University, where he was awarded the Charles Ives Scholarship and won the Eleazar de Carvalho Prize. At the Eastman School of Music, he received Bachelor’s Degree with the George Eastman Scholarship, Performer's Certificate and Arts Leadership Program Certificate. In addition to studying with David Effron and Lawrence Leighton Smith at these conservatories, Mr. Kuwahara has also studied with Leonard Slatkin, David Zinman, Timothy Muffitt and Michael Jinbo at various conducting institutions, including Aspen, the National Conducting Institute, the Pierre Monteux School, and the Chautauqua Music Institute.