Japanese violinist Akiko Suwanai was the youngest ever winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1990. Since then she has enjoyed a flourishing international career and appears regularly with celebrated maestros and foremost orchestras across the globe.

This season Akiko Suwanai debuts at Opéra National de Paris, performing the choreographed version of Salonens violin concerto conducted by Salonen himself. Other 2017/18 highlights include season opening with the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla and John Axelrod, as well as returns to Orchestre de Paris for Sibelius Violin Concerto with Paavo Järvi, and Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai for Salonen's Violin Concerto with Jonathan Webb. Suwanai debuts with Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra and Croatian Radiotelevision Symphony Orchestra and returns to NHK Symphony Orchestra, Hamburger Symphoniker, National Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan, and Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse for a Japan tour with Tugan Sokhiev.

An extremely keen chamber musician, Akiko Suwanai enjoys fruitful and longstanding collaborations with several artistic partners. In 2017/18, she embarks on a 3-year Beethoven residency at Kumho Art Hall in Seoul with Yoko Kaneko. With Boris Berezovsky, she presents their brand-new recital programme in Moscow and St Petersburg. Following their critically acclaimed Decca Classics release featuring works by Frank, Strauss and Takemitsu.

 Universally acclaimed for her performances of key violin repertoire works, Akiko Suwanai is also widely recognised for her master interpretations of lesser-performed works and passion for new music. In 2007, she premiered Peter Eötvös' violin concerto Seven at Lucerne Festival under Pierre Boulez, and in the following year she took this work to the BBC Proms where she appeared alongside Susanna Mälkki and Philharmonia Orchestra. She also gave Japanese premieres to important new works such as violin concertos by James MacMillan and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Akiko Suwanai is the Artistic Director of the International Music Festival NIPPON which she launched in 2012. Offering a variety of orchestral and chamber music concerts, master classes and charity events, the Festival regularly organizes Japanese premieres and commissions new works by Japanese and international composers. As part of the festival, Akiko Suwanai gave among others the Japanese premiere of Karol Beffas Violin Concerto with Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Paavo Järvi, and premiered Eric Tanguys In a Dream with pianist Akira Eguchi as well as Dai Fujikuras Pitter-Patter with Boris Berezovsky.

She studied at the Toho Gakuen School of Music with Toshiya Eto, Columbia University, and the Juilliard School of Music with Dorothy DeLay and Cho-Liang Lin, and at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin with Uwe-Martin Haiberg. Her extensive discography with Universal Music and Decca Classics has garnered much critical acclaim in Japan and worldwide.

Akiko Suwanai performs on the Stradivarius ‘Dolphinviolin from 1714, one of the most famous violins known today and previously owned by Jascha Heifetz, which has been kindly loaned to her by the Nippon Music Foundation.