Hailed for her "magnetic, wide-ranging tone" and her "rock solid technique" (Philadelphia Inquirer), violist Ayane Kozasa enjoys a career that spans a broad spectrum of musical personas. A violinist turned violist, she was inspired to dedicate herself to the alto clef when she discovered the beauty of playing the viola part in string quartets during her undergraduate studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her commitment to pursue a life in viola led to a graduate degree from the Curtis Institute of Music as well as a Further Masters Degree from the esteemed Kronberg Academy Masters School in Germany.
Ayane's solo career took off when she won the 2011 Primrose International Viola Competition, where she also captured awards for best chamber music and commissioned work performances. Following the competition, she joined the Astral Artists roster, and became a grant recipient from the S&R Foundation, an organization recognizing and supporting young, aspiring artists of all mediums. Her international solo opportunities have been a platform to unearth seldom heard works and commission new pieces, an aspect of viola playing that she loves. Most recently, she commissioned a work by Brooklyn composer Paul Wiancko for viola and piano, which she premiered at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Every Chamber Series in Washington, D.C. with pianist Amy Yang.
Chamber music has also been a vital part of Ayane's musical career, and her interests have led her to appearances at numerous festivals including the Marlboro Music Festival, the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, the Olympic Music Festival, and the Ravinia Festival. She is a founding member of the Aizuri Quartet, the 2017-18 Quartet-in-Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, grand prize winner of the 2018 MPrize Chamber Arts Competition, and first prize winner of the 2017 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. The quartet has proved to be a multi-faceted group, commissioning and touring works by world-renowned composers such as Caroline Shaw, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Paul Wiancko, Lembit Beecher, and Gabriella Smith, as well as pushing the boundaries of unique and thoughtful programming. Their debut CD “Blueprinting” was recently released on New Amsterdam Records, a record of works by the aformentioned composers. Her passion for chamber music has also blossomed in the form of the viola/cello duo “Ayane & Paul”, and eclectic string trio “Bird’s Eye Trio”, both known also for their creative programming and intimate connections with their audience.
From 2012 to 2016, Ayane served as the principal violist of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. She is also a member of the IRIS Orchestra, and has played with notable ensembles such as the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, The Philadelphia Orchestra, East Coast Chamber Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, A Far Cry, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Ayane is deeply grateful for the mentorship she received from her past teachers, Nobuko Imai, Kirsten Docter, Roberto Diaz, Misha Amory, and Michael Tree. Outside of music, she loves to perfect her pie baking skills, create fonts, go camping, and run into the ocean.