Masumi Per Rostad, violist
Grammy Award-winning Japanese-Norwegian violist Masumi Per Rostad has been described as an “electrifying, poetic and sensitive musician" with an "understated yet commanding presence” by critics and is in demand as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher as well as an active contributor to many online and print publications. He is a member of the much-lauded Pacifica Quartet that just celebrated its 20th anniversary season.
As a soloist, Masumi has performed at several of today’s most prominent festivals, including the Marlboro Music School, the Spoleto USA, Music@Menlo, Music in the Vineyards, as well as the Rockport and Skaneateles chamber music festivals. His guest violist collaborations include programs with the St Lawrence, Ying, Pavel Haas and Emerson Quartets. He has toured and recorded as a former member of the International Sejong Soloists and the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra. He can be heard on the Cedille Records, Naxos, Hyperion, Bridge and Tzadik labels as well as on recordings produced by Windspell Productions and Musical Observations.
As a member of the Pacifica Quartet, Masumi performs and tours extensively with the ensemble throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Named the quartet-in-residence at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music in March 2012, they serve as full-time faculty members. In 2009, the ensemble was awarded a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance and the coveted Cleveland Quartet Award. They were also named Musical America’s 2009 Ensemble of the Year.
In addition to a busy performing, touring and teaching schedule with the Pacifica Quartet, Masumi is an ardent advocate for the arts, and often sought after as a contributing writer to such publications as the Huffington Post, Strings and Gramophone magazines as well as The Guardian.
Passionate about breaking down barriers that prevent people from enjoying Classical music, Masumi was the founder of DoCha, a chamber music festival in Champaign, Illinois, that produces innovative events with an ardent focus on engaging new audiences through programming that is fun and inventive. DoCha-hosted events feature unique collaborations between members of the University and are multi-genre presentations from Classical chamber music to contemporary dance to the spoken word, and much more. All programs are free of charge and take place at the beautiful former community Opera House. Other activities of DoCha, include ‘in-reach’ performances for elementary school students as well as master classes, competitions and performance opportunities for local music students.
Masumi proudly began his studies at the Third Street Music School Settlement in New York City, at age three. In 2008 he was awarded the ‘Rising Star Award’ by the school for his musical achievements.
He received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School. There, he studied with legendary violist and pedagogue Karen Tuttle from the age of 17 and was made her teaching assistant just three years later at the age of 20. At Juilliard he was awarded the ‘Lillian Fuchs Award’ for outstanding graduating violist. He also won The Juilliard School Concerto Competition and performed the world premiere of Michael White's Viola Concerto in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, with conductor James DePreist. He gave the New York premiere of Paul Schoenfield's Viola Concerto with the Juilliard Symphony to critical acclaim.
Masumi has served on the faculties of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The University of Chicago, and Northwestern University’s School of Music. He has given master classes at The Cleveland Institute of Music, The Aspen Music Festival, The Eastman School of Music, The Bowdoin Festival, and the San Francisco Conservatory among many others.
Currently, Masumi lives in Bloomington, Indiana with his wife Sonia, a concert pianist and their two cats, Thumper and Mingus. He is a full professor of viola and chamber music at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music.