Skip to content
BSO, Pops, Tanglewood, and Symphony Hall Logos
2023-2024 BSO Concerto Competition Winner

Keila Wakao

Keila Wakao headshot


Eighteen-year-old violinist Keila Wakao makes her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut for the BSO’s Opening Night Gala concert in September 2024 under Andris Nelsons, on a concert also featuring world-renowned mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and pianists Lang Lang and Gina Alice Redlinger. The BSO’s invitation follows her Grand Prize in the 2023 Boston Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. She performed a movement from Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the BSO and Thomas Wilkins in the BSO Family Concert in October 2023.

Keila Wakao won First Prize in the 2021 Menuhin International Violin Competition Junior Division and was awarded the Gold Medal and Bach Prize at the 2021 Stulberg International String Competition. In 2023, she was awarded the Aoyama Music Foundation Award in Japan for upcoming artists. She is a recipient of Charlotte White's Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant in New York.

Born in 2006, Keila Wakao is from Boston, MA, and began playing the violin at age 3. Former BSO concertmaster Joseph Silverstein accepted her as a student when she was 6 years old. From age 9, she has been a student of Donald Weilerstein. She worked with Itzhak Perlman and participated in the Perlman Music Program in summers 2018-2022. She has also studied with Soovin Kim at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. She attended high school at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, and in fall 2024 she will attend New England Conservatory as a student of Miriam Fried.

Named a “VC Artist” by Violin Channel, Keila Wakao has performed as soloist and in recital throughout the United States, Japan, Germany, Singapore, and the United Kingdom in venues such as Cadogan Hall (London), Victoria Concert Hall (Singapore), Jordan Hall (Boston), and Carnegie Weill Recital Hall (New York City). She made her solo debut with an orchestra at age 9 and has since performed with ensembles including the Richmond, Reading, Eugene, Chattanooga, Adelphi, Kalamazoo, New Phil, Resound Collective, Baden-Baden, Boston Civic and Lexington symphony orchestras and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. In 2017, Keila was invited to speak and perform at TEDxBoston. She plays a 1745 G.B. Guadagnini violin on generous loan from the Florian Leonhard Fellowship.

See More