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Matthew Sakiyama

Violinist Matthew Sakiyama is 16 years old and a senior at the Nueva High School in San Mateo. He began studying violin at the age of 5 with Dr. Ondine Young, and currently studies with Mr. Elbert Tsai at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) Pre-College Division, where he has been a student for seven years. He has won awards at seven international competitions and has won first prize at competitions including the Pacific Music Society Competition, the US Open Music Competition, the ENKOR International Music Competition, the Great Composers International Competition, the US International Music Competition, and the DVC/HNU Youth Competition. He also won 2nd prizes at the Burlingame Music Competition and ENKOR International Music Competition in 2019, and received an honorable mention at the US International Music Competition in 2018. In addition, he was a finalist for the 2020 Pacific Music Society Competition, as well as the Classics Alive Young Artist Auditions, US International Music Competition, and the Palo Alto Philharmonic Concerto Competition in 2017. He has been invited to perform at Junior Bach for the last 5 years, and has also been chosen to perform at several Junior Bach special concerts. In the summer of 2017, he attended the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, working with conductors including Karina Canellakis and performing as concertmaster with the Sewanee Summer Music Festival Orchestra. He also performed Tzigane by Ravel as soloist with the Sewanee Festival Orchestra and won the Sewanee Summer Festival Jacqueline Avent Concerto Competition. In 2019, he was invited to perform at the Golden Gate Club as a part of the concert series Concerts at the Presidio as well as on the KPFA podcast “Ideas and Ideals.” Matthew has performed at Carnegie Hall two times as well as other renowned halls including the Berlin Philharmonie and Musikverein. He has been accepted to such prestigious summer programs as the National Youth Orchestra of the USA, National Youth Orchestra 2, [email protected], Meadowmount School of Music, and the Aspen Summer Music Festival. His notable solo performances in masterclasses include those led by Ida Kavafian, Axel Strauss, Xiao-Dong Wang, Alexi Kenney, Alex Kerr, Ying Fu, Danielle Belen, Xi Chan, and William van der Sloot. 

Matthew joined the El Camino Youth Symphony Galbraith Honor Strings at the age of nine, and has been playing in youth orchestras for the six years since. After spending one year each in the ECYS Galbraith Honor Strings, Sinfonietta, and Senior Symphony orchestras, he became the youngest member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra at age twelve and spent three years with the group under conductor Christian Reif. As a member, he got the opportunity to work with composers such as Detlev Glanert, Anahita Abbasi and Nathaniel Stookey. In the summer of 2019, SFSYO went on tour in Denmark, Germany, Austria, and Hungary, and performed at such venues as the Elbphilharmonie, Berliner Philharmonie, and Musikverein with violinists Karen Gomyo and Nicola Benedetti.

His first experience with chamber music was at Del Sol QuartetFest in the summer of 2013, where he studied with members of the Del Sol Quartet. Since then, he has played in chamber groups both at SFCM and at Young Chamber Musicians, of which he has been a member for two seasons. His various chamber groups have been coached by Joseph Maile and Eric Chin of the Telegraph Quartet, Lisa Lee of the Lee Trio and Zakarias Grafilo of the Alexander String Quartet. Matthew’s chamber groups have also played in master classes with the Juilliard String Quartet, Alexander String Quartet, and St. Lawrence String Quartet, and performed with the Telegraph and Alexander String Quartets in 2019. His chamber groups at Young Chamber Musicians have been prizewinners at the Galante Prize Competition in 2019 and 2020. In addition, Matthew played in the SFCM Contemporary Music Ensemble under the direction of Stefano Flavoni, performing works by Karlheinz Stockhausen and Steve Reich in 2019.

Matthew toured with the National Youth Orchestra 2 (NYO2) in consecutive summers (2018 and 2019) and had the opportunity to perform at the New World Center and at Carnegie Hall with violinist Gil Shaham in 2018 and pianist Gabriela Montero in 2019 under conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, along with members of the New World Symphony. He was named associate concertmaster for the NYO2 2019 tour and was later commended by US Senator Diane Feinstein for his participation in the National Youth Orchestra program. This summer, Matthew was a first violinist in the National Youth Orchestra of the USA under conductor James Ross. Matthew also studied with Xiao-Dong Wang, Ida Kavafian, Axel Strauss, and Hye-Jin Kim at the Vivace Matera Festival.

At school, he is the president of Musical Outreach Club where he performs at small concerts for local retirement homes. He is also a member of Invention Studio, in which students team together to create products that benefit the community. He is the co-founder and co-leader of MODAP, a group of students in Invention Studio who are working to bring affordable, automated drones to first responders, and also competes on the volleyball and cross-country teams. In his free time, he volunteers at school, tutoring underperforming middle schoolers, and at a local non-profit organization by caring for abandoned dogs. 

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