Portland Japanese Garden is proud to welcome Pacific Music Festival (PMF) as part of our Sapporo Cultural Festival on August 17.

The Pacific Music Festival (PMF) is an international educational music festival founded in Sapporo by leading 20th century conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, along with the London Symphony Orchestra, in 1990. Now a quarter century on, a cumulative total of over 3,500 excellent musicians have taken part.

The heart of PMF is the PMF Academy, an educational program featuring top musicians of the world as faculty, and fostering young musicians chosen through auditions from all parts of the globe. For roughly 1 month each July, these richly talented Academy members receive instruction on high-level craft from the faculty as well as a wealth of experience, in addition to experiencing international exchange through music, thereby deepening international mutual understanding.

The fruits of this learning are widely showcased, starting in Sapporo and extending to the various locations where concerts are held. The world-class PMF Orchestra (comprised of Academy members) in particular, as the premier youth orchestra in Asia, attracts large audiences every year.

About the Artists

Shin-young Kwon, Violin

Shin-young has been a member of the Oregon Symphony orchestra since 2004. She joined the Arnica String Quartet in 2005, and is a founding member of the Portland-based string quartet Mousai Remix since 2011.

In 1996, Shin-young transferred from Seoul National University to the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Sylvia Rosenberg and earned both her B.M. and M.M. She later completed her Doctor of Musical Arts at Indiana University as a student of Miriam Fried. Shin-young’s dissertation is a survey of string quartets by minor composers of the Classical period.

Shin-young has been coached by Atar Arad, James Buswell, Isidore Cohen, Glenn Dicterow, Alexander Kerr, Peter Salaf, János Starker, Sheryl Staples, Alan de Veritch, Zvi Zeitlin, and members of the Orion, Juilliard, Chicago, and Takács quartets.

She has also participated in a number of music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, the Colorado Music Festival, and the Music Academy of the West, the New York String Seminar, the Sarasota Music Festival, the Tanglewood Music Center, and the Taos School of Music.

Kevin Kunkel, cello 

Kevin Kunkel joined the Oregon Symphony in 2016 upon completing a fellowship with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. During the summertime, he has served as principal cello of the Des Moines Metro Opera since 2017.

Kevin has participated in numerous festivals such as the New York String Orchestra Seminar, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, Lake George Music Festival, Britt Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Lucerne Festival Academy, and Verbier Festival. Devoted to both the symphonic and operatic worlds, Kevin has served as principal cello under visionary conductors, including Michael Tilson Thomas, Valery Gergiev, Christopher Hogwood, Stéphane Denève, Christoph Eschenbach, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Iván Fischer, Zubin Mehta, and Charles Dutoit.

His musical travels have taken him to the Konzerthaus Berlin, Großes Festspielhaus at the Salzburg Festival, Hagia Irene in Istanbul, Palacio de Carlos V in the Alhambra, Suntory Hall, and Carnegie Hall. In 2017, his performance of the Ibert Concerto for Cello and Winds at the Spoleto Festival USA was featured on American Public Media’s Performance Today. As a chamber musician, Kevin has performed alongside acclaimed artists, including members of eighth blackbird, the Silk Road Ensemble, Yo-Yo Ma, Atar Arad, Christian Tetzlaff, Jorja Fleezanis, Eric Kim, Anne-Marie McDermott, Albrecht Mayer, Orion Weiss, and Tamas Varga.

A native of the Chicago area, Kevin started his cello studies at age 10. He received his Bachelor of Music and Performance Diploma degrees from Indiana University studying under Eric Kim. There, he performed annually as a principal cellist, served as an Associate Instructor, and was a member of the Kuttner Quartet, the university’s resident honors ensemble.

Ningning Jin, Viola 

Ningning Jin joined the Oregon Symphony’s viola section in 2015. She enjoys a varied career as an orchestral player, chamber musician, soloist, and teacher. Before joining the Oregon Symphony, she was a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for five seasons. She has participated in many festivals including the Pacific Music Festival and Verbier Festival, and has performed as principal viola under the batons of world-renowned conductors. She also won numerous prizes, including first place in the China Youth National Viola Competition.

Ningning received her B.M. from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and her Artist Diploma from the Colburn Conservatory, where she studied with renowned violist Paul Coletti.

Keiko Araki, Violin

A native of Vancouver, BC, Keiko Araki was inspired to begin violin lessons at age seven after seeing Itzhak Perlman on “Sesame Street.” She received her B.M. from the Vancouver Academy of Music and a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. Her major teachers were Lawrie Hill, Gwen Thompson, and Herbert Greenberg.

Keiko began her professional orchestral career in 1996 as a substitute with the Vancouver (BC) Symphony Orchestra. Prior to joining the Oregon Symphony in 2004, she was a member of the Delaware and Alabama symphony orchestras. Since moving to Portland, Keiko has performed with several Oregon ensembles and music festivals, including the Oregon Bach Festival, fEARnoMUSIC, the Oregon Ballet Theatre orchestra, and the Astoria Music Festival. Her interest in non-classical genres has led to recordings with Pink Martini, The Decemberists, Storm Large, and The Stolen Sweets.

Keiko is also a member of Portland Taiko, the Asian-American drumming ensemble. While she finds taiko very challenging, both for its physicality and honing her improvisational skills, there’s nothing Keiko enjoys more after a long day of symphony rehearsals than beating on a giant drum with big wooden sticks.

In her spare time, Keiko enjoys knitting, knitting, and knitting. Her yarn “stash” is slowly taking over a room in her home, and she has managed to convert several of her symphony colleagues into knitting addicts. When she’s not knitting, Keiko uses her husband Adam as a guinea pig for culinary experiments, and takes naps with their cat, Zonker.