Dr. Maiko Sasaki, a clarinetist, is a seasoned teacher who has more than 25 years of experiences. She has taught hundreds of students with various ages (5-64!) and levels (beginner – professional).
As an active professional clarinetist with a doctorate degree from Rice University in TX, Dr. Sasaki has deep understanding of music both in theory and practice. Her instruction is always based on music, not just cut and dry methodology and repetitions (although repetitions are important part of practice!). She helps students to think and find their own expressions, and give concrete instructions for them to realize their own ideas through the instrument. As a result, her students learn not only how to play instrument but also how to enjoy and love music!
Dr. Sasaki has taught clarinet in group settings as a woodwind consultant at High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and as a faculty at AFA Summer Music Festival and ArtsAhimsa Chamber Music Festival.
Fulfilling a childhood dream, Dr. Maiko Sasaki, a clarinetist, enjoys her professional career as a solo/chamber/orchestra musician. Dr. Sasaki plays in prestigious orchestras such as River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Opera in the Heights, Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston, Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio.
She has also been featured in many chamber concerts such as the Kennedy Center Conservatory Project, the ROCO Connection Series, Musiqa, and Take Five -- a Houston Symphony’s outreach program to just name a few.
Growing up in Japan, Dr. Sasaki is reserved, kind, and friendly in person, yet dynamic and expressive on stage.
Sydney Boyd, a critic in Houston, describes Dr. Sasaki’s performance “The clarinet solo in Act Two was exquisite and full of the overwhelming emotion vivid throughout the libretto and score, adding, almost inconceivably, to Violetta’s heartbreaking plea “Love me as much as I love you!”.
For her passionate and inspiring performances, she has been awarded the Presser Music Award--which is given to an artist demonstrating excellence and outstanding promise for a distinguished career in the field of music.
Since 2011, Dr. Sasaki has co-founded an ensemble “MATIMA” with pianist Dr. Makiko Hirata. Its mission is to promote music as a universal language to help us transcend our differences through a communal sensory experience. Their programs and events are always socially relevant, focused on shared experiences, rather than the traditional ritualistic presentation, and designed to delight their audiences. Through her collaboration with Dr. Hirata, Dr. Sasaki was inspired to release an album “The Greener Grass” which features her original transcriptions for clarinet of many beloved master pieces, such as Debussy & Franck Violin Sonatas, without compromising the charm of the original compositions.
For her unique contribution to the body of clarinet literature and their collaborative artistry, MATIMA was invited to perform as guest artists at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest 2015 in Madrid, Spain.
In MATIMA’s latest album “100 Years: Early Beethoven and Late Brahms,” two musical doctors from Rice University show their profound understanding of music and give fresh view points on those great composers’ master pieces over the centuries.