Azusa Tashiro, a violinist based in Chicago, has cultivated an active and diverse career as an orchestral player, chamber musician, and violin teacher. With her unwavering passion for music, Azusa has graced some of the finest stages, collaborating with renowned ensembles and artists to enrich the classical music landscape.
Azusa currently serves as the Concertmaster of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. Additionally, she holds positions as an Assistant Concertmaster in the South Bend Symphony Orchestra and as a Principal Second Violinist in the Rockford Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with orchestras such as the Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Chicago Philharmonic, Joffrey Ballet, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, where she served as Concertmaster. Her artistry has also led her to assume the role of Guest Concertmaster in the Orchestra Iowa for their 2018-19 season.
Beyond orchestral performances, Azusa's love for chamber music has taken her on a rich journey of collaboration and exploration. As a winner of the first place and audience prize at the Plowman Chamber Music Competition, she has honed her skills and gained invaluable experiences studying chamber music with mentors like Shmuel Ashkenasi, Mathias Tacke (Vermeer Quartet), Oliver Wille (Kuss Quartet), Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartet), and Eberhard Feltz. Currently, Azusa is a member of the Chicago-based chamber music ensemble, International Chamber Artists.
Embracing the spirit of innovative chamber music, Azusa has ventured beyond traditional classical music repertoire. She has been a season artist for the Fifth House Ensemble and served as faculty for their Fresh Inc Festival, where she experienced the power of collaboration to transcend the conventional boundaries of classical music. Azusa's exploration of unique ensembles led her to become the violinist of the Petar Jankovic Ensemble, a chamber group composed of a string quartet led by a classical guitar. The ensemble toured widely across the United States and abroad, culminating in the release of their CD, "(Com) Passionate," in 2014. In yet another captivating endeavor, Azusa has performed with Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues, led by the legendary blues harmonica master, singer, and composer, Corky Siegel.
Her captivating performances have not gone unnoticed, as they have graced the airwaves of WGN Radio, WGN-TV, and WFMT, Chicago's classical music radio station, through programs like the Impromptu series and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series.
Azusa has appeared as a soloist with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Lakeshore Symphony Orchestra, College of DuPage Chamber Orchestra, and Northwestern University Orchestra. Her talents have also taken her to prestigious music festivals such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Kammermusik in Frenswegen, the Spoleto Festival USA, and the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, where she spent three summers and led the orchestra as a concertmaster.
Originally from Chiba, Japan, Azusa Tashiro's violin journey began at the young age of four. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree at Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo. In 2008, Azusa moved to the United States, joining the Chicago College of the Performing Arts as a student of Nathan Cole. Further enriching her skills, she earned her Master of Music degree at DePaul University School of Music, studying under the guidance of the acclaimed violinist Ilya Kaler.