AKIKO FUJIMOTO is increasingly recognized as one of the most dynamic and versatile conductors of her generation. She joined the Minnesota Orchestra in September 2017 as assistant conductor, after serving five and a half seasons as the associate conductor of the San Antonio Symphony. As assistant conductor, her role with the Minnesota Orchestra ranges from leading Young People’s Concerts and Symphonic Adventures, family programs and outdoor community concerts to serving as cover conductor for Classical subscription and Live at Orchestra Hall concert 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.
While in San Antonio Fujimoto conducted classical, pops, education and baroque concerts as well as ballet. Highlights included a gala featuring violinist Gil Shaham in Brahms’ Violin Concerto, an all-French classical subscription program, and fully-staged productions of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet,Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and The Nutcracker with Ballet San Antonio.
“Fujimoto’s quick tempo in the final movement [of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8] was especially welcomed, accentuating the music’s wit and Beethoven-ish majesty of it all.” - San Antonio Express-News
“Fujimoto’s deft conducting worked perfectly in the concert’s highlight, the synchronization between the orchestra and guest pianist Martina Filjak in Camille Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2.” - San Antonio Express-News
“Ms. Fujimoto brought to both [Telemann] suites a wealth of tempo play -- including a delightful accelerando at the end of the already-speedy finale of the Quichotte -- and big swings in dynamics.” - Incident Light
“She is quite a precise conductor, giving the players [of the Virginia Symphony] clear instruction that results in energetic, rhythmic performance. This was a particularly valuable skill in Behzad Ranjbaran’s Concerto for Violin, Viola and Orchestra.” - Virginian Pilot
In October 2017, Fujimoto served as a cover conductor for Susanna Mälkki at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. As a guest conductor, Fujimoto has performed with the Houston Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, the Round Rock Symphony and the 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. Prior to arriving in Texas, Fujimoto served as the conducting associate for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
Fujimoto has extensive experiences working with young musicians, starting at Harvard University where she directed the Mozart Society Orchestra and at Stanford University, with her leadership 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 masters degrees in conducting from Boston University and the Eastman School of Music.