Columbus Symphony Orchestra Musicians

Kenichiro Matsuda


Violist and native of Japan, Kenichiro Matsuda came to the United States after three and a half years with the New Japan Philharmonic under Seiji Ozawa. He attended the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo and Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, where he received his BM and MM. 

Ken was a member of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (Acting Assistant Principal Violist) before joining the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in 1987. He also has played with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a regular substitute violist and has participated in touring and recording.

He has taught viola at Calvin College, Denison University, Ohio University, and Ohio State University. Most recently, Ken taught at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM) as an adjunct viola instructor. He is currently an adjunct instructor at Capital University in Bexley, OH. Ken was on faculty at the Csehy Summer School of Music (Langhorne, PA) for eight years and has been teaching nearly every summer at the MasterWorks Festival (Spartanburg, SC) since 2003.

He is the violist of the Cygnus Quartet and plays chamber music actively in Central Ohio. He toured Japan in 1988 with the Columbus String Quartet as well as in Estonia in 1999 with the Sonus Artis Quartet. As part of a Christian mission trip, Ken has been visiting Karuizawa, Japan regularly with a string ensemble since 2005. He was formerly a part of the Nissen Duo (viola and piano) along with his late wife, Tanya.

For over 25 years, Ken has been the conductor of “Hanamizuki no Kai,” the Japanese Women’s Chorus in Columbus. Ken was invited to play with the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra in 2018 under Junichi Hirokami to perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Hiroshima, Japan. 

His teachers include Nobuko Imai, Jerry Horner, Bernard Zaslav, and Shmuel Ashkenasi of the Vermeer Quartet.

Ken is the creator of the trademarked instrument “Masterit,” which is a practice tool that guarantees good results. He is an avid table tennis player, a fan of the TV show Chicago Med, and enjoys playing golf as well as riding his folding bike. His two adult daughters live in Chicago and New York. 

Ken plays a viola made in 2018 by Tetsuo Matsuda (no relation) of Barrington, IL.