Koh Gabriel Kameda (Japanese: 亀田光 born January 14, 1975) is a German-Japanese concert violinist and violin teacher.
Koh Gabriel Kameda was born in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, into a family of medical doctors. He began playing the violin at the age of five and participated in competitions with the age of 8 winning first prizes, shortly later he started to study with Josef Rissin in Karlsruhe.
Koh Gabriel Kameda, First prizewinner of the Henryk Szeryng International Violin Competition in Mexico in 1997, is a recognized violinist by international audiences and colleagues. After hearing him play, Lord Yehudi Menuhin stated enthusiastically that he “was most impressed” with Kameda’s performance, and Sir James Galway proclaimed that “he is one of the most remarkable players of his generation”.
At the age of twelve Kameda enrolled in the University of Music in Karlsruhe, Germany, and studied with professor Josef Rissin. In 1993 violinist and conductor Pinchas Zukerman invited him to come to New York and work with him at the Manhattan School of Music.
Kameda received numerous prizes from national and international competitions. He won first prize at the National German Competition for young musicians, first prize at the International Violin Competition Kloster Schöntal, and first prize at the International Violin Competition “Henryk Szeryng”. In addition he was a prizewinner at the Eurovision Contest in Vienna, which was broadcast live on TV throughout Europe. During his career Kameda has received various awards including the Music Award of the European Industry, the Jürgen-Ponto Foundation award, the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben award, the Baden-Württemberg Art Foundation award, a scholarship from the international Richard Wagner Society, the Dora Zaslavsky-Koch Scholarship Award, and others.
Koh Gabriel Kameda debuted in 1988 at the age of thirteen in Baden-Baden, Germany, performing the Violin Concerto no.5 by Henri Vieuxtemps with the Baden-Baden Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then he continues to perform throughout Europe, Asia, as well as in North and South America. He has appeared as a soloist with leading orchestras around the world including the Staatskapelle Dresden, Berliner Symphoniker, Hamburger Symphoniker, SWR Rundfunkorchesters Kaiserslautern, Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Belgian Radio and Television Philharmonic Orchestra BRTN, Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Kölner Kammerorchester, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Athens State Orchestra, The Philharmonica Hungarica, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Nordhausen Symphony Orchestra, The State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Chamber Philharmonic and the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, amongst many others.
While residing in Germany, Kameda has also received praise for his extensive artistic activities in Japan, where he has become an important figure in the classical music scene. During the year 2000 he performed at the Suntory Hall five times, each time tickets were sold out completely. Ten years earlier in 1990, he made his stage debut in Japan performing various violin concertos during the same concert in Tokyo (Suntory Hall) and Osaka (The Symphony Hall). His career in Japan did not commence with these concerts however, but rather started on the primetime TV documentary program “NHK special: Einstein Roman” for the radio and television company Japan Broadcasting Corporation NHK. He worked together with author Michael Ende (Neverending Story, Momo) and fashion designer Hanae Mori, starring in the lead role and recording the soundtrack. At the same time he recorded a laser disc of the program, the first classical music laser disc produced in Japan (BMG Fun House, Japan). Indeed, his popularity in Japan is such that it has led to the establishment of a fan club there.
An outstanding moment in Kameda’s early career was the collaboration in a series of concerts with the late Witold Lutoslawski in 1993, a year before the death of the Polish composer. He performed the work “Chain II” under the baton of the composer himself, and from those concerts the last live CD of the composer was produced, receiving great acclaim by the press: “outstanding”, according to Neue Musik Zeitung; “superb technique and expressive maturity”, wrote Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
His ongoing project, “Music Heals”, a series of concerts in hospitals where for many years Kameda has been actively volunteering to bring music to patients, was featured by TV Tokyo in a 60-minute television documentary broadcast in 1999, receiving much attention especially from outside the regular concert-hall-going circles.
In April 2002 Koh Gabriel Kameda premiered the Violin Concerto by Louis Gruenberg in Japan with the New Japan Philharmonic under the direction of Gerard Schwarz. This work was commissioned by Jascha Heifetz in 1945. After Jascha Heifetz had performed and recorded the concerto with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Pierre Monteux it has not been presented by anyone until Kameda played it as the first violinist besides Heifetz. Gruenberg’s daughter, Joan Gruenberg Cominos, remarked on Kameda’s performance “I was delighted to discover your brilliant performance of my father's violin concerto. You have perfected this difficult work and play it beautifully.” German journalist and author Harald Eggebrecht also reviews Kameda's performance of the Gruenberg concerto in his book "Große Geiger. Kreisler, Heifetz, Oistrach, Mutter, Hahn und Co".
Reviews in the international press, German Scala magazine saying Koh Gabriel Kameda “sounds like Heifetz”, and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung exclaiming that he is “miraculous”. In Japan, the music journal Ongaku no Tomo wrote that he has an “amazing sound”; in the United States, the Salt Lake City Deseret News “mesmerizing performance”. He is “one of the best in this orbit”, El Dia of Mexico, in Brasil Zero Hora “his Stradivarius turned into a Magic Violin”, in Israel “..even among the brilliant and promising, there is one outstanding” and “genius violinist” the Yedhiot Ahronot newspaper wrote after his performance with Pinchas Zukerman and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Kameda was holding a teaching position at the Zurich University of the Arts between 2004 and 2009. In 2010 he has been appointed his present position as professor of violin at the University of Music Detmold.
Koh Gabriel Kameda plays on a violin by Antonio Stradivari made in 1727.
Kameda played on some notable instruments such as David Tecchler 1715, Antonius Stradivari 1715 ex Joachim, most recently he plays the "Holroyd" Antonius Stradivari of 1727.
In 2006 Kameda founded The Tokyo Chamber Philharmonic. A project orchestra based in the metropolitan area of Tokyo. In the same year, Koh Gabriel Kameda lead the orchestra on its first tour of Japan, conducting, as well as soloing with the newly founded orchestra; the first program was "The 8 seasons" a combined performance of the Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi and the Estaciones Porteñas from Astor Piazzolla arranged by pianist and composer Peter von Wienhardt.
Kameda was also the founding member of the piano trio Trio Frankfurt with pianist Nami Ejiri and cellist Isang Enders.
Partial list of Concert Halls
Alte Oper Frankfurt
Sala São Paulo
Wigmore Hall, London
Carnegie Hall, New York
Suntory Hall, Tokyo
Symphony Hall, Osaka
Orchard Hall, Tokyo
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space
Sala Cecilia Mireiles, Rio de Janeiro
Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City
Sala Nezahualcóyotl, Mexico City
Merkin Hall Kaufmann Center, New York City
92Y Hall, New York City
Palau de la Musica, Valencia
Auditoria Nacional, Madrid
Teatro Teresa Carreño, Caracas
Sala de Giganti, Padova
Athens Concert Hall Megaron, Athen
National Concert Hall Dublin, Ireland
Romances, kameda-music, King Record
The World of Koh Gabriel Kameda, BMG Funhouse
Soundtrack NHK Special: Einstein Roman
Lutoslawski dirigiert Lutoslawski, Antes Edition
The Extraordinary Life & Music of Sonia Eckhardt-Gramatté