"She transformed the Museum into a Cathedral of Music... Ayako Yonetani performed twice during the Kosice Spring Music Festival this year and proved to be 'the most favorite performer' of this year's festival” ———-Korzo, Slovak Republic
"A high sense of beauty.” ———Ongaku no Tomo, Tokyo, Japan
"Ravishing tone, technical mastery, and all-out expressiveness distinguished her playing…” ————-Herald-Tribune
Ayako Yonetani, DMA violinist and violist, was born in Kobe, Japan, where, at the age of five, she began violin studies with the famous Saburo Sumi. After winning the Japan National Competition at age nine, she quickly ascended to the top ranks of Japan’s violinists. She performed as a soloist with renowned Japanese orchestras ‒ including NHK Symphony, New Japan Philharmonic, and Gunma Symphony ‒ before she came to US.
Dr. Yonetani received her Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degrees from the Juilliard School where she studied with Hyo Kang and the late Dorothy DeLay, world-renowned violin pedagogue, who taught such artists as Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Cho-Liang Lin, Gil Shaham and Sarah Chang. From 1989 she assisted the late Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard pre-college division and at the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Since Dr. Yonetani moved to the US in 1982, she has appeared frequently as a recitalist in major cities such as New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis and Orlando, performing numerous solo recitals, solos with orchestras, chamber music and ensemble performances. Outside of the US, Dr. Yonetani has also performed in such prestigious venues as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Salzburg’s Mozarteum, Vienna’s Musikverrein, Tokyo’s Kioi Hall, Slovak Republic’s Dome Umenia, Dresden’s Semperoper, and Astana City Hall in Kazakhstan. In 2012 and 2013, Yonetani performed for the President of Panama and the Japanese Ambassador to Panama in an event to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Japan’s earthquake/tsunami and for the Japanese emperor’s birthday event.
Dr. Yonetani has been engaged internationally teaching master classes, judging music competitions, and recording. In 2005, she was invited to judge the International Competition “Shabyt” in Kazakhstan, where she also premiered a double violin concerto with the Astana City Symphony Orchestra. Yonetani has released four solo CDs of Tchaikovsky/Mendelssohn concertos, Bruch, Beethoven with original cadenza/Brahms concertos. She has participated in the production of six ensemble CDs as a member of Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo. Her Tchaikovsky/Mendelssohn concerto CD with the Slovak State Philharmonic of Kosice Orchestra was selected as “The CD of the Month” by WMFE-90.7FM in October 2004. Japan’s premier music publisher, Ongaku no Tomo, published her Japanese translation of Barbara L. Sand’s book Teaching Genius: Dorothy DeLay and the Making of a Musicianin November,2001. The book made its fourth printing and over 4,500 copies have been sold.
Dr. Yonetani has received the highest praise for her interpretations of Bach’s Chaconne, the unaccompanied Partita No. 2 in D minor. She performed Bach’s Chaconne at the inauguration of the President of Wofford College, and she has been invited back each summer since 1998 to play this piece for the Crown Fellows at the Aspen Institute, where she was elected as an honorary Henry Crown Fellow in 2006. She was an official artist for the Florida State Touring Program, the first violinist chosen in its 30-year history (2006-2017.)
Currently she is a full professor of violin and viola at the University of Central Florida and a member of Japan’s premier chamber ensemble, Kioi Hall Chamber Orchestra (formerly Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo). Mostly recently, Yonetani became the director of UCF Graduate String Quartet program. Her future concerts this season include concertos with the Slovak State Philharmonic of Kosice and the Uzhhorod Philharmonic Orchestra (Ukraine), chamber orchestra concerts, string quartet concerts and a couple of solo recitals in Japan.