P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Shizuo Kuwahara, 2000

Principal Guest Conductor, The Mariinsky Theatre

Shizuo Kuwahara is an immigrant from Japan

Fellowship awarded to support work towards an MM in Orchestral Conducting at Yale University

The First Prize winner of the prestigious Georg Solti International Conductors’ Competition in Frankfurt, Germany, Shizuo Z Kuwahara is the principal guest conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre, Primorsky Stage. His conducting career ascended rapidly after winning the Solti Competition, leading to conducting invitations from the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchesters Saarbrücken, Polish Chamber Orchestra, Nice Philharmonic, and Frankfurt Museumsorchester. Kuwahara will be performing with various orchestras this season including Seattle Symphony, Osaka Symphony, Hiroshima Symphony and Wrocław Philharmonic.

Mr. Kuwahara has led performances throughout North & South America, Europe, and Asia, including performances with Frankfurt Museum Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfonica de Salta, Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Kosei Wind Ensemble, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Century Orchestra Osaka, Nagoya Philharmonic, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, Polish Chamber Philharmonic, Denmark National Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Slaska, Sinfonieorchester den Nationalen Philharmonischen Gesellshaft der Uklaine Kiew, German Radio Symphony Orchestra and L’Orchestre Pasdeloup. He has also acted as musical assistant and cover conductor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony and Orchestra de Paris.

Mr. Kuwahara was with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a League of American Orchestras conducting fellow, covering and leading numerous concerts as an apprentice to Christoph Eschenbach. Other past positions include assistant conductor to Seiji Ozawa at the Saito Kinen Festival in summer of 2008, conducting the Ozawa Jyuku Orchestra. He spent his summer of 2006 in Sapporo, Japan serving as an assistant conductor to Valery Gergiev at the Pacific Music Festival. At the beginning of his career, Mr. Kuwahara served as Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Activities at the College of William & Mary and American University, as well as an associate conductor of the Virginia Symphony. He has recently concluded 7 years tenure as the music director of Symphony Orchestra Augusta.

In addition to winning the first prize at the Solti Competition, he received additional prizes from the Malko International Conducting Competition, Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting, the Prokofiev International Conducting Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia and Fitelberg International Competition in Katowice, Poland. He is also a recipient of Georg Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, Georgia Trend 2011 40 Under 40 - Georgia’s Best & Brightest, Augusta Region’s Top Ten in Ten Young Professionals, 2011 Greater Augusta Arts Council Art Professional Award, and 2011 S&R Washington Award. The City of Yokkaichi, Japan appointed him as an Ambassador of Tourism, a city where Mr. Kuwahara grew up.

Born in Tokyo, Mr. Kuwahara received Master’s Degree studied conducting at Yale University, where he was awarded the Charles Ives Full Scholarship and awarded the Eleazar de Carvalho Prize. At the Eastman School of Music, he received Bachelor’s Degree and Arts Leadership Program Certificate, with honorable recognition of Performer's Certificate and the George Eastman Scholarship. In addition to studying with David Effron and Lawrence Leighton Smith at these conservatories, Mr. Kuwahara has also studied with Leonard Slatkin, David Zinman, Timothy Muffitt and Michael Jinbo at various conducting institutions, including Aspen, the National Conducting Institute, the Pierre Monteux School, and the Chautauqua Music Institute.

  • MM Orchestral Conducting | Yale University 2001
  • MM Orchestral Conducting | University of Rochester 1999
  • BM Music Education, Saxophone Performance | University of Rochester 1998
  • Ambassador of Tourism, City of Yokkaichi, Japan (2016-present)
  • Georg Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award
  • Georgia Trend 40 Under 40 - Georgia’s Best & Brightest
  • Greater Augusta Arts Council Art Processional Award
  • Augusta Region’s Top Ten in Ten Young Professionals
  • S&R Washington Award
Work History
  • The Mariinsky Theatre, Principal Guest Conductor | August 2019 - PRESENT
  • Symphony Orchestra Augusta, Music Director | January 2009 - January 2016
  • Philadelphia Orchestra, Conducting Fellow | January 2005 - January 2007
  • Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Associate /Assistant Conductor | January 2002 - January 2007
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