Profile: Ms. Amy Vaida

This is the first article in the “Friends of UTokyo profile series, ” where we introduce various individuals who are contributing to FUTI. We would like to begin this series with Ms. Amy Vaida, née Iwazumi. FUTI is now increasing its visibility, and gaining increasing attention and support, partly because of its first rate website, the elegant bimonthly e-Newsletters we send out, and its beautiful Annual Report (in Japanese ) recently sent to past and prospective donors.
Design and implementation of these important media have been done by Amy, a sole proprietor of “Amy I productions,” a company specializing in web and graphic design since 2005. But her skill for web design is just one of her versatile talents. First and foremost, Amy is an accomplished violinist and composer. Her father is the late Dr. Tatsuo Iwazumi, who earned his BS degree in Aeronautical Engineering, his BS degree in Electrical Engineering both from UTokyo, his MS degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics and MS degree in Electrical Engineering both from Masachussetts Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Pennslyvania. Dr. Iwazumi was a longtime friend of Prof. Kobayashi , FUTI President, since their UTokyo student days.

Amy was born in Galveston, Texas when her father was with the University of Texas, and began playing the violin at the age of three and gave her first recital at age five. She entered the Juilliard Pre-College Division at the age of eight as a scholarship student of the late Ms. Dorothy DeLay, a world renowned violin teacher, and continued her studies at The Juilliard School as a student of Mr. Hyo Kang, receiving her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music. While at Julliard, she served as concertmaster for the Juilliard Orchestra under the direction of Sir Roger Norrington at the Isaac Stern Auditorium in Carnegie Hall.

She has performed with orchestras and ensembles such as the Little Orchestra Society at Avery Fisher Hall, National Symphony of Santo Domingo, International Sejong Soloists, Yonkers Philharmonic, and Young Artists’ Orchestra of the Aspen Music Festival.  She has performed at several music festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, Festival Ljubljana in Slovenia, Great Mountains Music Festival, Holland Music Sessions, La Jolla Summerfest, Salzburg Sommerakademie, and the Taipei International Arts Festival.

The awards and top prizes that Ms. Iwazumi has won include the Kiwanis Music Festival in Canada, the Canadian Music Competition, the Second International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians, the Fine Arts Society-Enrico Fermi Concerto Competition, and the JAA (Japanese Association of America) Music Scholarship Awards Competition.

Currently she performs actively as a soloist and chamber musician in the U.S., and abroad.  Based in New York City, Ms. Iwazumi has given recitals and concerts in and around Lincoln Center including the Clark Studio Theater, Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Alice Tully Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall; Weill Recital Hall, Zankel Hall, and Steinway Hall.  She has also performed in Austria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Holland, Japan, Slovenia, South Korea, Taiwan, and the UK.

She performs in a violin duo with her brother Ray, as the Ray and Amy Violin Duo, and together they performed on NHK National Radio of Japan as part of the “Meikyoku Recital” Series and received the Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant which led to several broadcasts of their performances on WQXR.  They also gave their Tokyo debut recital in November of 2007 at the JT Art Hall.

Ms. Iwazumi’s compositions have gained recognition, receiving a Special Citation from the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award Competition.  Her orchestral work, “Thoughts” was chosen and performed by the Juilliard Pre-College Symphony in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater in the Lincoln Center.  Recently, “The Japanese Four Seasons,” an arrangement of four Japanese songs was commissioned by the Inoue Chamber Ensemble and performed in Brazil to critical acclaim.  The work was also performed at Columbia University as part of its “Nuances of Peace” series.
She also plays the shamisen, a three-stringed traditional Japanese instrument.  In the winter of 2008, she studied traditional Japanese music and art as part of a cultural exchange generously supported by a grant from the Asian Cultural Council.

Ms. Iwazumi resides in New York City with her husband, John Vaida, who is also an accomplished violinist and violist.

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