Hailed for her "magnetic, wide-ranging tone" and her "rock solid technique" violist Ayane Kozasa is a sought-after chamber musician, collaborator, and educator.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ashley Gellman & Suzuran Photography
Hailed for her “magnetic, wide-ranging tone” and her “rock solid technique” (Philadelphia Inquirer), violist Ayane Kozasa is a sought-after chamber musician, collaborator, and educator. Since winning the 2011 Primrose International Viola Competition—where she also captured awards for best chamber music and commissioned work performances—Ayane has appeared on stages across the world, from Carnegie, Wigmore, and Suntory Hall to Ravinia, Aspen, and the Marlboro Music Festival. She is a passionate advocate for the expansion of viola repertoire, and has commissioned multiple new works featuring the viola, including “American Haiku” by Paul Wiancko and “K’Zohar Harakia” by Judd Greenstein.
The Aizuri Quartet’s debut album, Blueprinting—which features the music of 5 American composers, all commissioned by the quartet—was nominated for a Grammy Award and named one of NPR’s top 10 classical albums of 2018. With collaboration being a deep part of their identity, they have performed with artists such as Wilco, Marcy Rosen, Michi Wiancko, and Maeve Gilchrist. Most recently, the quartet received the Cleveland Quartet Award from Chamber Music America, a biennial award given to a string quartet that is establishing a major career. Their devotion to education brings them to young musicians around the world, and they regularly lead student composer workshops at institutions such as the University of Southern California, Princeton University, and New York Youth Symphony. In 2020, the quartet launched AizuriKids, an interactive web series for children that explores relationships between music and themes ranging from astrophysics to cooking. As WQXR’s 2022 Artist Propulsion Lab winner, the quartet will be launching additional AizuriKids videos later this year.
Ayane is also a member of the duo Ayane & Paul with composer and cellist Paul Wiancko, with whom she collaborated on Norah Jones’ album “Pick Me Up Off the Floor.” The duo has appeared at several festivals, including Spoleto Festival USA, Brooklyn Chamber Music Society, and Music from Angel Fire. As a seasoned orchestral performer, Ayane has performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, A Far Cry, Philadelphia Orchestra, East Coast Chamber Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, where she served as principal violist from 2012 to 2016. Ayane’s most recent passion project Owls is a quartet collective with violinist Alexi Kenney and cellists Gabriel Cabezas and Paul Wiancko. Owls share an uncommonly fierce creative spirit, weaving together new compositions with original arrangements of music ranging from the 1600s to the present. Upcoming shows include appearances at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in NYC and The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.
Much of Ayane’s current work involves mentoring aspiring young musicians through programs like the Green Lake Chamber Music Camp and Olympic Music Festival. Beginning Fall of 2022, Ayane will be on the viola faculty at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She has previously served on the viola faculty at Adelphi University in Long Island, and has been guest faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Ayane is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Kronberg Academy in Germany, and Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied viola with Misha Amory, Roberto Díaz, Nobuko Imai, and Kirsten Docter. Aside from music, she enjoys baking, hiking, camping, and creating animation.