Celebrating AAPI Heritage & History: Adrian Anantawan (Violin '06)

The internationally-acclaimed, award-winning violinist, advocate for disability and the arts, and Curtis alumnus attended the school from 2001–06

Born in Ottawa, Canada, to a father from Thailand and a mother from Hong Kong, award-winning violinist and Curtis alumnus Adrian Anantawan (’06) began studying his instrument at age nine. Chair of music at Milton Academy, artistic director of Shelter Music Boston, and associate professor of music at Berklee College of Music, he performs, speaks, and teaches around the world as an advocate for disability and the arts. Founder of the Music Inclusion Program in Boston (aimed at having children with disabilities learn instrumental music with their typical peers), ambassador for the True Colors Symphony in Hong Kong, and an active member and spokesperson for the CHAMP (Child Amputee) Program of the War Amps of Canada, Mr. Anantawan holds degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Yale University, and Curtis, where he studied with Ida Kavafian and Yumi Ninomiya Scott (Violin ’67).

Mr. Anantawan is the creator of the Virtual Chamber Music Initiative at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Center in Toronto, a cross-collaborative project to bring researchers, musicians, doctors, and educators together to develop adaptive musical instruments capable of being played by a young person with disabilities within a chamber music setting. From 2012–16, he served as the co-director of music at the Conservatory Lab Charter School, serving students from the Boston area, kindergarten through grade eight, and his work was recognized by Mayor Marty Walsh as a ONEin3 Impact Award in 2015. An in-demand speaker, his appearances have included those at Harvard University, the Skoll Forum, and TED Talks.

As a violinist, Mr. Anantawan has studied with Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, and Anne-Sophie Mutter and performed extensively in Canada as a soloist with the Orchestras of Toronto, Nova Scotia, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Montreal, Edmonton, and Vancouver. He has presented feature recitals at the Aspen Music Festival and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and represented Canada as a cultural ambassador in the 2006 Athens Olympics, and was a featured performer at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Mr. Anantawan has performed at the White House to launch the President’s Global Cultural Initiative and played for the late Christopher Reeve, Pope John Paul II, and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

Click the video below to learn more about Adrian Anantawan.

Recipient of numerous awards and honors, Mr. Anantawan has been featured as a Kennedy Center Next50 and is a VSA International Soloist Winner. His artistry and advocacy have received Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation recognition, a Juno Award, the Boston ONEin3 Impact Award, a Diamond Jubilee Medal from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and induction into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame.

To learn more about Adrian Anantawan, visit his official website HERE. Subscribe to his YouTube Channel.

Portraits of Mr. Anantawan by Scott Nobles. Photo of Adrian Anantawan speaking with WRR Classical 101 midday host Amy Bishop, as part of the Fermata Speaker series with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, October 6, 2023, courtesy of the artist’s official Facebook page.

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Celebrating AAPI Heritage & History: Adrian Anantawan (Violin '06)

The award-winning violinist and Curtis alumnus currently serves as concertmaster of the GRAMMY-winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.