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Biography
Sharon Yamada

Sharon Yamada, a member of the New York Philharmonic since 1988, has performed extensively on both the East and West Coasts. She performs regularly with the New York Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall, and has appeared with the New Jersey Chamber Music Society. Ms. Yamada has performed frequently in the summer at the Grand Teton Music Festival. Other summer activities have included the Aspen, Norfolk, and Chigiana (Siena, Italy) music festivals. Formerly assistant concertmaster of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Yamada has also appeared in concert with Orchestra New England and the Wallingford Symphony. She is a former member of the Hofstra String Quartet, which was in residence at Hofstra University.

Ms. Yamada received her Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music under the tutelage of Szymon Goldberg and Syoko Aki. While earning her undergraduate degree in architecture from Yale College, she appeared as soloist and concertmaster with the Yale Symphony. She is an alumna of the Music Academy of the West, now a partner in the New York Philharmonic Global Academy. A native of Los Angeles, Ms. Yamada attended the Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences and was a student of Alice Schoenfeld.

“My little sister had just arrived on the scene, and it seemed a good idea for me to keep busy. Luckily, we found a teacher who lived around the corner.”

Q&A with Sharon Yamada

THE FACTS: Born in Los Angeles, California. B.A., Yale College; master of music, Yale School of Music. Prior to the Philharmonic: assistant concertmaster of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. At the Philharmonic: Joined in 1988.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: My parents were music lovers. My mom always had the classical radio station on, especially in the car. We'd listen on the way to school or to violin lessons and guess what was playing, à la Name That Tune.

WHEN DID YOU BEGIN VIOLIN? At age three. My mom found a violin shop in the Yellow Pages and inquired about violin teachers. My little sister had just arrived on the scene, and it seemed a good idea for me to keep busy. Luckily, we found a teacher who lived around the corner. The first piece I fell in love with was Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. I had the Heifetz LP. I would put on the repeat button and fall asleep listening to it over and over.

WHO WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES? All of my violin teachers helped me so much. Szymon Goldberg was a major influence and I admired his intelligent and thoughtful artistry. I'm also thankful to have studied with Alice Schoenfeld, who gave me a strong foundation.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? I love the feeling of being transported, along with the audience, to another place where nothing else matters but making music.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Sweeney Todd in March 2014: Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson rocked it. Also Beethoven's Triple Concerto in June 2014 with former Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow, Yefim Bronfman, and Principal Cello Carter Brey: it will stay with me forever since it was Glenn's final week of concerts with us, and we were all teary-eyed by the end. I grew up listening to him in the Los Angeles Philharmonic before he became Concertmaster of this Orchestra.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS SEASON? The Verdi Requiem with Alan Gilbert in January. It's one of my all-time favorites!

MOST INSPIRING COMPOSERS: J.S. Bach. I also love Brahms and Mahler.

ARE THERE OTHER MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY? My son, Kyle, is 13 and studies piano; my daughter, Sachi, is 9 and studies harp. My husband, Keisuke Ikuma, is an oboist.

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING TO LATELY?András Schiff Plays Bach, the Bill Evans Trio, The Glenn Dicterow Collection, and, because I have kids, the Frozen sound track.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Sewing, baking for school bake sales, and beginning ballet classes.

As of November 2014

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Purchase 3 or more eligible concerts & save.

About Create Your Own Series:

Pick three (or more) concerts and and enjoy exclusive Subscriber Benefits including unlimited free ticket exchange. Ideal for concertgoers who want the ultimate in flexibility and the benefits of being a subscriber.

Subscriber Benefits:

  • Free, easy ticket exchange (available online or by phone)
  • Save on subscription concerts all year long
  • Priority notice on special events

How it Works:

  1. Look for the Create Your Own Series icon CYO eligible icon next to a concert and add it to your cart.
  2. Simply follow the directions in the shopping cart and enter promo code CREATE3 at check out.
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