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. In 2017 he was appointed to the faculty of the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.
Masumi regularly tours internationally and has performed at many of today’s most prominent festivals, including Marlboro, Spoleto USA, Music@Menlo, Caramoor, Music in the Vineyards, Bowdoin, and The Aspen Music Festival. His guest violist collaborations include programs with the St. Lawrence, Ying, Pavel Haas, Miro, Verona, Emerson Quartets and Horszowski Trio. He toured and recorded extensively as a former member of the International Sejong Soloists. He can be heard on the Cedille Records, Naxos, Hyperion, Musical Observations, Bridge and Tzadik record labels.
As a former member of the Pacifica Quartet from 2001-2017 Masumi regularly performed in the world’s greatest venues including Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Sydney’s City Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Musikverein, Munich’s Herkuleshaal, Paris’ Louvre and Cite de la Musique, and Berlin’s Konzerthaus among many others. He was a full professor of viola and chamber music as quartet-in-residence at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. In 2006 the ensemble was awarded the coveted Cleveland Quartet Award and they were also named Musical America’s 2009 Ensemble of the Year.
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. That same year 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, Longy School of Music, and Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. He has given master classes at The Cleveland Institute of Music, The Aspen Music Festival, The Bowdoin Festival, Interlochen and San Francisco Conservatory among many others.
Currently, Masumi lives in Rochester, NY with his wife Sonia, a concert pianist. He is professor of viola and chamber music at Eastman School of Music. He is a D’Addario Artist and has used their strings since 1999. His Fratelli (Brothers) Amati viola was crafted in Cremona, Italy in 1619.