Japanese-American conductor Ken Yanagisawa is the Assistant Conductor of the Boston Civic Symphony and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting at Boston University under the guidance of James Burton. He will be making his Japanese debut as a guest conductor for a production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with Kansai Nikikai and the Japan Century Symphony Orchestra at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Japan in February 2023, and most recently served as assistant conductor for the BU Opera Institute productions of Ned Rorem’s Our Town and Mozart’s Così fan tutte as well as for the BU Symphony Orchestra & Symphonic Chorus performance of Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem at Boston Symphony Hall.
Beyond school, Ken has participated in several workshops including the Pacific Music Festival Conducting Academy and Eastern Music Festival. He also served as Kapellmeister with the Berlin Opera Academy for productions of Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and Puccini’s Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi, and made his European debut with the Bacau Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2018.
Previously, Ken completed a research residency at the Kyoto City University of Arts and received a Master of Music and Professional Studies Certificate in Orchestral Conducting from the Manhattan School of Music. While a student at MSM, he was selected to participate in the Manhattan School of Music / Leonard Slatkin Conductors Project and was subsequently invited to work with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as a Conducting Fellow in March 2020. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Yale University where he received the Joseph Lentilhon Selden Memorial Award for notable contributions to the field of music and the Stanton Wheeler Award for outstanding artist contributions to the college, and prior to Yale he attended the New England Conservatory as an Undergraduate Diploma candidate for Oboe Performance under the tutelage of John Ferrillo.
His other teachers include George Manahan, William Lumpkin, Bernard Labadie, and Tatsuya Shimono. In masterclasses and festivals, he has been taught by renowned artists and pedagogues such as Leonard Slatkin, Jun Märkl, Gerard Schwarz, Jorma Panula, and Carlos Spierer. He is deeply grateful for all the excellent guidance and mentorship he has received thus far in his life as a musician.
In addition to music performance, Ken has experience working as an artistic administrator for the New York Philharmonic and as a freelance photographer. His work has been published in TIME, The New York Times, Huffington Post, Boston Globe, Playbill, the Chronicle of Higher Education, YES! Weekly and the Yale Daily News.
(As of October 2022)