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Japanese violinist Mayuko Kamio started up Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto with a quiet, delicate opening, supported by rich horns (I dare say this section might be better than Oregon Symphony’s). The second movement, another lovely oboe solo answered by sweet cellos and a high clean violin section. Kamio’s line turns tragic, light and bittersweet, a vigorous vibrato, molto schmaltzando, as muted trumpets echo mysteriously in the distance. As the last movement’s virtuosic perpetuo moto got underway Kamio began to really pick up steam, full orchestra punctuating her hoedown grooving, Florian Conzetti bending way over his timpani to play a quick snare drum flourish, Brotons’s legs braced wide for the big ending, a hop and a sting and it was over.


Matthew Andrews, Oregon Artswatch
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She played with an ultra-dry and unresonant timbre, produced with smooth consistency. Oistrakh had a similar style, actually, but Kamio amps up the technique to 11.

Laurie Niles,
Conductor Mei-Ann Chen Elicits Impressive Work From Symphony Silicon Valley

Kamio’s awesome talents as shown in the concerto: her boldness of command, sureness in rhythm and phrasing, richness of harmony in double-stops, and sheer strength. Her vibrato, though not consistently applied, is extremely wide. The concerto, already a long work, seemed absolutely epic in scale but it never dragged. Kamio blazed her trail through it impressively.

David Bratman, San Francisco Classical Voice

The Violin Channel recently caught up with Japanese violin virtuoso Mayuko Kamio for a fun game of VC 20 Questions.

(play link)

Violin Channel

"Kamio performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with meticulous care, generating a gorgeous and rich tone throughout the piece. She effortlessly created fortissimos and excelled in bringing the volume down to super soft pianissimos. Her quiet playing during the big cadenza in the first movement was almost drowned out by the pounding rain on the roof."

James Bash, Northwest Reverb
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"[Kamio] articulated every phrase with great delicacy but it was clear her heart was in it, and her playing had an impromptu feel. The cadenza to the first movement ended in a stunning double-stop passage, then melted smoothly and flawlessly back into the main theme. The Adagio had heart-melting romance and the last movement had both grace and guts. The crowd loved it and let her know.

So fervent was the applause that Kamio gave us an encore, and it was nothing anyone would have expected. She played a take-no-prisoners arrangement of Schubert’s famous song “Erlkoenig.” To transcribe a Schubert song for piano is bold enough. To play one – particularly this one, with its galloping pace and constant change of voice and mood – on violin is dizzying. Kamio pulled it off with fire and a tremendous attention to detail. Brava."

Mary Kunz Goldman, The Buffalo News
Mayuko Kamio entrances with Symphony Silicon Valley

"Over the weekend, the Japanese-born soloist was back again, demonstrating her range with a work of an entirely different character, Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, nicknamed the "Turkish." I attended Sunday's performance at the California Theatre -- the second of two -- and was taken with the many dimensions of her playing, as well as her ability to partner with the musicians around her. This was a performance of balance and charm, from the first measures of her adagio entrance, seamlessly blending with the whispering strings and translucent wind chords."

Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra features two world-class violinists

"Kamio’s soaring, rhapsodic playing in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ 'The Lark Ascending' revealed an emotional depth that was totally appropriate for a work that wasn’t overtly flashy but that needed an intense and subtly virtuosic performance to come to full fruition. The audience signaled its appreciation with a standing ovation.

"Her take on Pablo de Sarasate’s 'Zigeunerweisen' was a whole different animal – showier, more overtly technical in its virtuosity. There was a slow burning fire that gradually ramped up in a flurry of incandescent sonic sparks before burning down the house. The following ovation was even louder."

Garaud MacTaggart, Buffalo News
"Still in her 20s, Kamio is a world-class virtuoso — she won a gold medal at the 2007 International Tchaikovsky Competition — with exceptional power and a fine sense of drama, as she showed in the Scherzo movement from Brahms’s 'F-A-E' Sonata. It’s an early work, but still full of Brahmsian melancholy and rolling pathos, which Kamio brought off with great sensitivity. Brahms’s more mature Sonata No. 1 followed, delivered with a ravishing tone and polished to gleaming perfection." Read More...
Stephen Brookes, Washington Post
Kamio wows Symphony Silicon Valley audience
"It was just over a year ago that Mayuko Kamio blew San Jose audiences away for the first time, winging in from New York as an emergency replacement on a program with Symphony Silicon Valley. The Japanese violinist, 26 at the time, left her audience on its feet, cheering, after she dispatched Lalo's 'Symphonie espagnole,' a Romantic thriller.

"She did it again Saturday -- left them on their feet, cheering -- after she played Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the orchestra. And it wasn't just the audience that was tickled by her thrilling performance at the California Theatre: The members of the orchestra were stamping their feet, many smiling with delight, as if they'd just eaten big bowls of ice cream."

Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News
"Its moonlit effects underscored Kamio's exceptional performance, which was sinuous and earthy -- throbbing with vibrato -- or unnervingly swift and precise, like colored ribbons in the wind." Read More...
Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News
Violinist Shines in Her Debut: Mayuko Kamio's First Bangkok Concert Appearance Was a Huge Success
"Kamio's daring cadenza felt fresh and profound while musical sentences were clear-cut. She took moments to give and take the time wisely and stylishly. All the double and triple stops, left-hand pizzicato and other finger-twisted techniques seemed effortless for her. Her playing in the second movement was poetic while throughout the performance the 1727 Stradivarius astoundingly appeared to be an alive instrument."
Tretip Kamolsiri, Bangkok Post
"Virtuosity is abundant these days, and musicians conquer Everest-like technical hurdles with calm insouciance. Ms. Kamio, another talent from the seemingly bottomless well of noteworthy young female violinists, certainly had technique to burn as well.

"But on Monday she was distinguished by her warmly luxurious, buttery tone and long, seamless phrases."

Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times
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