Keisuke Wakao was appointed assistant principal oboe of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal oboe of the Boston Pops in the fall of 1990. He was previously a member of the New World Symphony from its 1988 inaugural season. A native of Tokyo, Wakao performed with the New Japan Philharmonic under Seiji Ozawa in 1985 and made his concerto debut with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra under Kazuyoshi Akiyama in the summer of 1989. He made his Tokyo recital debut in 1997 and performed with pianist Christoph Eschenbach in a recital at Sapporo's 1998 Pacific Music Festival.
Wakao received his performance diploma from Manhattan School of Music, where he served on the faculty following his graduation in 1987. His teachers include former New York Philharmonic principal oboe Joseph Robinson at Manhattan School of Music, and former Boston Symphony Orchestra principals Alfred Genovese and Ralph Gomberg at Tanglewood, where he was a TMC Fellow. A talented teacher himself, Wakao founded the annual Keisuke Wakao Oboe Camp in Tokyo in 1988 and is currently on the faculties of both New England Conservatory and Longy School of Music. He is also director of Daikanyama Hillside Terrace Music Festival in Tokyo; founder of the Church of the Redeemer Concert Series in Chestnut Hill, and the Ventfort Hall Summer Chamber Music Concert Series in Lenox; and sponsor of the American-Japanese Cultural Concert Series, which featured performances with Emmanuel Ax in 2010.
Wakao has made three solo recordings on the Denon label, including “Abendlied” (1997) with pianist Christoph Eschenbach, and “Keisuke Wakao Plays John Williams” (1998), a disc featuring film music by John Williams, with whom Keisuke also collaborated in a performance of the Mozart Oboe Concerto with the Boston Pops in 1994. Williams has also written an oboe concerto for Wakao, which saw its world premiere on May 25 and 26, 2011, with Williams conducting the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall in Boston.