When you meet Maiko, ask her… What was it like to record her new CD? Was she involved in tsunami relief efforts? Has she seen any good movies lately?
Fulfilling a childhood dream, Dr. Maiko Sasaki, a clarinetist, enjoys her professional career as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician. Dr. Sasaki plays in prestigious orchestras such as the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Opera in the Heights, Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston, and the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio. She has also been featured in many chamber concerts such as the Kennedy Center Conservatory Project, the ROCO Connections series, Musiqa, and Take Five (the Houston Symphony’s outreach program), to just name a few.
A native of Japan, Dr. Sasaki is reserved, kind, and friendly in person, yet dynamic and expressive on stage. Sydney Boyd, a critic in Houston, described Dr. Sasaki’s performance thusly: “The clarinet solo in Act Two was exquisite and full of the overwhelming emotion vivid throughout the libretto and score, adding, almost inconceivably, to Violetta’s heartbreaking plea ‘Love me as much as I love you!’” For her passionate and inspiring performances, she has been awarded the Presser Music Award, which is given to an artist demonstrating excellence and outstanding promise for a distinguished career in the field of music.
Since 2011, Dr. Sasaki has co-founded an ensemble “MATIMA” with pianist Dr. Makiko Hirata. Its mission is to promote music as a universal language to help us transcend our differences through a communal sensory experience. Their programs and events are always socially relevant, focused on shared experiences rather than traditional ritualistic presentation, and are designed to delight audiences. Through her collaboration with Dr. Hirata, Dr. Sasaki was inspired to release an album entitled The Greener Grass, which features her original transcriptions for clarinet of many beloved master pieces. The album includes such favorites as the Debussy & Franck violin sonatas, yet does not compromise the charms of the original compositions.
For its unique contribution to the body of clarinet literature and its collaborative artistry, MATIMA was invited to perform as a guest artist at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest 2015 in Madrid, Spain. In MATIMA’s latest album 100 Years: Early Beethoven and Late Brahms, two musical doctors from Rice University show their profound understanding of music and give fresh view points on those great composers’ masterpieces over the centuries.
Beyond Dr. Sasaki’s talents as a musician, Dr. Sasaki also excels in the full scope of musical producing, including graphic design, audio engineering, etc. Her latest project is a non-classical CD, entitled Vitalize, with pianist Yoko Kuromaru. Dr. Sasaki arranged this collection of refreshing and delighted pieces with MIDI instruments to energize our daily lives!