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. She conducted an American music program in Sommerfest 2019 and will make her subscription debut in March 2020 at Northrop. Beginning with the 2019-20 season, she also takes on the position of music director at the Mid-Texas Symphony.
As a guest conductor, Fujimoto has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Houston Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, 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. Upcoming engagements include the Lexington Philharmonic, Florida Orchestra, and the Portland Symphony Orchestra.
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 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.
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. Additionally, she was a cover conductor for Esa-Pekka Salonen, Zubin Mehta and Susanna Mälkki at the Los Angeles Philharmonic.