Mai Motobuchi has
earned distinction as a soloist , chamber musician and teacher in the
United States and her native Japan. As a soloist, she has performed with
such well-known artists as Yo-Yo Ma and Seiji Ozawa. Ms. Motobuchi's
career in chamber music has taken her around the world performing at the
finest concert halls in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. She
has toured with the Colorado String Quartet during their 1999-2000
season. Since joining the Borromeo String Quartet in 2000, she has
collaborated with the world's finest musicians, including, Leon
Fleischer, Gary Graffman, Bernard Greenhouse, Kim Kashkashian, Midori,
David Shifrin, Richard Stoltzman, and Dawn Upshaw.
In addition to her active performing career, Ms. Motobuchi is in demand
as a teacher on two continents, serving on the Viola and Chamber Music
faculty at both the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston,
Massachusetts and at the Tenrikyo Institute of Music in Tenri, Japan. A
gifted teacher, she taught viola, violin and chamber music to special
talented students in the preparatory division at Rice University, and
since 1998 has enjoyed the distinction of having each of her students in
Japan named as First Prize recipients in the All Japan MBS Youth Music
Competition at every level.
Ms. Motobuchi gained recognition in Japan as first prize winner in the
1989 All Japan MBS Youth Music Competition, and in the 1990 and 1991 All
Japan Ensemble Competition. Upon coming to the United States, she won
the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition (Junior Division), the
Henri Kohn Memorial Award from the Tanglewood Music Center, and, as a
student at Rice University, received the John and Sally Cox Award, the
E. Dell Butcher Award, and the Willie Muery Award, in addition to being
named an Alice Pratt Brown Scholar.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Mai Motobuchi started playing violin at age five.
Upon receiving her Diploma from Tenrikyo Institute of Music in Japan,
she was awarded full scholarships to study viola at Michigan State
University, where she received her Bachelor of Music, and Rice
University in Houston, where she earned her Master of Music. She
followed with an advanced performance diploma from Internationale
Meisterkurze Koblenz in Koblenz, Germany. Ms. Motobuchi's teachers have
included Robert Dan, Martha Strongin Katz, Paul Katz, and Yoko Washio
The Borromeo String Quartet
Nicholas Kitchen, Violin
Kristopher Tong, Violin
Mai Motobuchi, Viola
Yeesun Kim, cello
at the New England Conservatory of Music
Ensemble-in-Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Ensemble-in-Residence at the Taos School of Music summer program
Winner of the 2007 Avery Fisher Career Grant
Winner of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award (2001)
Winner of the Cleveland Quartet Award (1998)
Ensemble-in-Residence for National Public Radio's Performance Today
Top Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian,
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"A remarkably accomplished string quartet, not simply for its high
technical polish and refined tone, but
more importantly for the searching musical insights it brings."
– The Chicago Tribune
"A musical experience of luminous beauty"
- The San Diego Reader
"Each of the greatest string quartets has redefined what the
possibilities of the medium are: through
the perfection of its ensemble and intonation, through its poise and its
passion, the Borromeos
are recreating the medium anew and we are lucky to be here to hear it."
- The Boston Globe
"The digital tide washing over society is lapping at the shores of
classical music. The Borromeo players
have embraced it in their daily musical lives like no other major
chamber music group."
- New York Times
“It would not be an exaggeration for me to say that much of this book
has come from trying to
figure out what makes the Borromeo Quartet’s performances so
and spiritually captivating.”
– from ‘Music and the Soul' by author Kurt
visionary performance of the award-winning Borromeo String Quartet
strengthens and deepens its reputation as one of the most important
ensembles of our time. Admired and sought after for both its fresh
interpretations of the classical music canon and its championing of
works by 20th and 21st century composers, the ensemble has been hailed
for its"edge-of-the-seat performances," by the Boston Globe, which
called it"simply the best there is."
Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Borromeo continues to be a
pioneer in its use of technology, and has the trailblazing distinction
of being the first string quartet to utilize laptop computers on the
concert stage. Reading music this way helps push artistic boundaries,
allowing the artists to perform solely from 4-part scores and composers’
manuscripts, a revealing and metamorphic experience which these
dedicated musicians now teach to students around the world. As the New
York Times noted,"The digital tide washing over society is lapping at
the shores of classical music. The Borromeo players have embraced it in
their daily musical lives like no other major chamber music group."
Moreover, the Quartet often leads discussions enhanced by projections of
handwritten manuscripts, investigating with the audience the creative
process of the composer. And in 2003 the Borromeo became the first
classical ensemble to make its own live concert recordings and videos,
distributing them for many years to audiences through its Living
Archive. The next offering of Living Archive, a music learning web
portal, will be released next season.
Passionate educators, the Borromeos
encourage audiences of all ages to explore and listen to both
traditional and contemporary repertoire in new ways. The ensemble uses
multi-media tools such as video projection to share the often surprising
creative process behind some works, or to show graphically the elaborate
architecture behind others. This produces delightfully refreshing
viewpoints and has been a springboard for its acclaimed young people’s
programs. One such program is MATHEMUSICA which delves into the
numerical relationships that under-pin the sounds of music and show how
musical syntax mirrors natural forms. CLASSIC VIDEO uses one movement of
a quartet as the platform from which to teach computer drawing, video
editing, animation, musical form and production processes to create a
meaningful joining of music and visual art.
The quartet has been ensemble-in-residence at the New England
Conservatory and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for twenty-three
years; and has worked extensively as performers and educators with the
Library of Congress (highlighting both its manuscripts and instrument
collections); the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Taos
School of Music. The ensemble joined the Emerson Quartet as the 2014-15
Hittman Ensembles in Residence at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore,
and its upcoming season includes substantial residencies at Colorado
State University in Fort Collins, Kansas University in Lawrence, and the
San Francisco Conservatory.
ensemble has been acclaimed for its presentation of the cycle of Bartok
String Quartets as well as its lecture"BARTOK: PATHS NOT TAKEN," both of
which give audiences a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hear a set of
rediscovered alternate movements Béla Bartók drafted for his six
Quartets. Describing a Bartok concert at the Curtis Institute, the
Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that the quartet"performed at a high
standard that brought you so deeply into the music's inner workings that
you wondered if your brain could take it all in ... The music's mystery,
violence, and sorrow become absolutely inescapable."
Also noteworthy in the BSQ repertory are its dramatic discoveries within
the manuscripts of the Beethoven Quartets, and its performances of the
COMPLETE CYCLE; the BEETHOVEN DECATHALON (four concerts of Beethoven’s
last ten quartets, all with pre-concert lectures exploring his
manuscripts); and single BEETHOVEN TRYPTICH concerts (one concert
including three quartets). Its expansive repertoire also includes the
Shostakovich Cycle and those of Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Brahms, Schumann,
Schoenberg, Janacek, Lera Auerbach, Tchaikovsky, and Gunther Schuller.
The Quartet has collaborated with some of this generation’s most
important composers, including Gunther Schuller, John Cage, Gyorgy
Ligeti, Steve Reich, Osvaldo Golijov, Jennifer Higdon, Steve Mackey,
John Harbison, and Leon Kirchner, among many others; and has performed
on major concert stages across the globe, including appearances at
Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, Wigmore Hall, Suntory Hall, the
Concertgebouw, Seoul Arts Center, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, the
Incontri in Terra di Siena Chamber Music Festival in Tuscany, the Prague
Spring Festival and the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt.
The 2015-16 season includes performances in Switzerland, Japan, Korea
and China; the Bartók Cycle in Boston, San Francisco and at the Library
of Congress; and appearances at the Schubert Club in Minneapolis,
Amherst College, and Trinity Church Wall Street, to name only a few.
"Nothing less than masterful" (Cleveland.com), the Borromeo Quartet has
received numerous awards throughout its illustrious career, including
Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Career Grant and Martin E. Segal Award,
and Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award. It was also a
recipient of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and top
prizes at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian,
France. [September 2015]