Shunske Sato is a violinist, conductor, chamber musician, soloist and teacher – the diversity of his activities reflect his versatile and resourceful nature. Historically informed performance practice is central to his identity and allows him to inhabit the music and communicate with audiences in dramatic, revelatory ways.
He directs and appears as soloist with period ensembles as well as symphonic orchestras around the world, and has led several staged productions as well.
Resident in The Netherlands, Shunske has been a faculty member of the Amsterdam Conservatory since 2013, where he teaches historical violin. He also gives masterclasses and workshops with regularity.
From 2013 to 2023 Shunske was artistic leader and concertmaster of the Netherlands Bach Society. During his tenure he directed numerous works by J.S. Bach, including large-scale works such as St. Matthew Passion and Christmas Oratorio, as well as Passion music by Graun, Graupner and Kaiser. His many recordings of cantatas and instrumental works by Bach can be seen on www.youtube.com/bach.
Other notable accomplishments include his own instrumentation of Bach’s Art of Fugue, collaborating with Opera2Day on an opera interweaving contemporary music and compositions by Bach, and video recordings of Bach’s Musical Offering which visually render the compositional structures using special effects.
Since 2011 Shunske has worked closely with Concerto Köln as soloist, conductor and concertmaster. Known for their interpretations of Baroque and Classical works, Concerto Köln has been making noteworthy strides into the realm of the 19th century: their recent undertakings include Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung with Kent Nagano, Bruckner Symphonies, Paganini, Elgar and Tchaikovsky. With his experience in this repertoire and its performance practices, Shunske has been called upon as advisor, collaborator and soloist.
Shunske is regularly invited to guest direct ensembles such as the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Residentie Orkest in the Hague and Orquestra Barocca de Sevilla. Upcoming highlights include performances with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra (Norway), Philharmonic Baroque Orchestra (USA) and the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. A tour of Biber’s Rosary Sonatas with dancers and recordings of the complete Violin Sonatas by Beethoven as well as Brahms’s Piano Trios on historical instruments with Hidemi Suzuki and Shuann Chai are also forthcoming.
Among the conductors with whom Shunske has collaborated both as soloist and concertmaster are Ivor Bolton, Richard Egarr, Philippe Herreweghe, Christopher Hogwood, René Jacobs, Kent Nagano and Hidemi Suzuki. Before historically informed practice became a part of Shunske’s activities, he performed extensively as soloist with renowned symphonic orchestras such as the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bavarian Radio Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and the NHK Philharmonic Orchestra.
Shunske studied at the Juilliard School in New York, Conservatoire National de Région in Paris and Hochschule für Musik und Theather in Munich. His teachers include Chin Kim, Dorothy DeLay, Masao Kawasaki, Gérard Poulet, Eiichi Chijiiwa and Mary Utiger. Shunske’s conducting mentors include Jos van Veldhoven, Hernán Schvartzman and René Gulikers.
For versions in other languages (German, Dutch, French) or abridged versions of this biography, please contact Marloes Biermans.