Akiko Fujimoto joined the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2017 as assistant conductor and in September 2018 became associate conductor. She conducts Young People’s Concerts, Symphonic Adventures for High Schools, special events and outdoor community concerts, while serving as cover conductor for classical subscription programs and Live at Orchestra Hall performances. Additionally, she serves as a link to the community, participating in engagement activities, school visits and collaborations with other Minnesota arts and cultural institutions.
Before arriving in Minnesota, Fujimoto served as the associate conductor of the San Antonio Symphony for five seasons. Highlights of her tenure there included a gala featuring violinist Gil Shaham in Brahms’ Violin Concerto, an all-French classical subscription program and fully-staged ballet productions including Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. Prior to arriving in Texas, Fujimoto served as the conducting associate for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
As a guest conductor, Fujimoto has performed with the Houston Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, Round Rock Symphony and Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Additionally, she has conducted Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra as a participant in the Young Conductors Program and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the St. Magnus Festival.
During the 2018-19 season she will make her debut with the Mid-Texas Symphony with the music of Rossini, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Tchaikovsky. She will also return to the San Antonio Symphony to conduct a classical subscription program featuring music of Toru Takemitsu, Bernstein and Dvořák, and to the Los Angeles Philharmonic as a cover conductor for two all-Brahms programs. In August 2019, she will conduct her first program on the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest series.
Fujimoto has extensive experience working with young musicians, starting at Harvard University where she directed the Mozart Society Orchestra for five seasons, and at Stanford University where she served as the interim music director of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. In Virginia, she held the positions of director of orchestras at the College of William & Mary and music director of the Williamsburg Youth Orchestras.
Born in Japan, Fujimoto moved to the United States at age 14 and attended Stanford University, where she studied music and psychology. She holds master’s degrees in conducting from Boston University and the Eastman School of Music.