Ray Ushikubo, violin
Exhibiting an innate musicality fused with mesmerizing technique, seventeen-year-old Japanese-American pianist and violinist Ray Ushikubo has soloed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall, and appeared on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Since his solo orchestral debut at age ten with the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra in Los Angeles’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ushikubo has soloed with the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Modesto Symphony Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony Orchestra, Reno Philharmonic, and San Diego Symphony Orchestra. A recipient of the prestigious Davidson Fellow Laureate Award in 2014, Ushikubo won the 2017 Hilton Head International Piano Competition and the 2016 Piano Concerto Competition at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he soloed with the Aspen Conducting Academy Orchestra.
During the 2018-2019 season, Ushikubo will solo on both piano and violin with the Buffalo Philharmonic in an all-Gershwin program with Maestro John Morris Russell, as well as with the Northwest Sinfonietta Orchestra and Maestro David Lockington featuring Beethoven’s works. Having worked with renowned conductors such as Paolo Bortolameolli, Laura Jackson, Jeffrey Kahane, Wes Kenney, David Lockington, Sameer Patel, John Morris Russell, and Dean Whiteside, Ushikubo performed and conducted from the piano Bach Keyboard Concerto No. 1 with the Academy Virtuosi Orchestra at the Colburn School. Ushikubo has also collaborated with pianist Lang Lang in Orange County’s Segerstrom Concert Hall and with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet on the international radio broadcast Radio France. Ushikubo was featured as a Young Artist in Residence of the national radio broadcast Performance Today with Host Fred Child, and he has been featured several times on the nationally syndicated radio program From the Top where he was named one of their Jack Kent Cooke Young Artists. He has also been a featured speaker on TEDx Redmond.
Ushikubo loves to perform in a variety of settings. In August 2015, he made a special appearance as piano and violin soloist in a concert presented by Grand Performances in Los Angeles. The program featured Ushikubo performing traditional classical works alongside jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez and electronic musician Daedalus, who “remixed” improvised versions of the classical works, crossing the genres of classical, electronic music, and jazz. He has performed as violin soloist in the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s 2014 Gala "StradFest," with the New West Symphony as part of their Symphonic Adventures Program, and for the opening concert of the 2017 La Jolla Music Society SummerFest. He performed as piano soloist at the Los Angeles Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) for a peace ceremony honoring Hiroshima atomic bomb victims, which also featured the acclaimed singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. He has appeared as guest artist on Rob Kapilow’s What Makes It Great? series at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, on San Diego’s Mainly Mozart’s series Mozart & the Mind, at the Griffith Observatory as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Immortal Beloved celebration, where he performed Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
A 2014 Davidson Fellow Laureate, Ushikubo was awarded $50,000 by the Davidson Institute for his music project “Circle of Life in Music.” Having won the 2017 Hilton Head International Piano Competition and the 2016 Piano Concerto Competition at the Aspen Music Festival and School, he has also won first prize at the 2015 Steinway Concerto Competition, the Young Artists Piano Prize at the 2013 Mondavi Young Artists Competition, and the 2012 Steinway Prize for the best performance of a Beethoven Sonata.
Ushikubo will start his Bachelor’s degree at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he will study piano with Gary Graffman and Robert McDonald and violin with Aaron Rosand and Midori. Ushikubo's other interests include automobiles, classic action movies, and classic heavy metal music.