Curtis Mourns the Loss of David Niwa (Violin '87)
The Curtis Institute of Music mourns the loss of David Niwa (Violin ’87), assistant concertmaster of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, who passed away on September 1, at age 58. Born in Chicago on February 17, 1964, Mr. Niwa began his violin studies at age five, working under the guidance of his father, Raymond Niwa, a prominent violinist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His mother, Eloise Niwa, was a beloved piano teacher in the Chicago metropolitan area, and his sister, Gail Niwa, was an accomplished concert pianist.
As a young musician, Mr. Niwa was no stranger to accolades. He was awarded top prizes in all five divisions of the Society of American Musicians Competition and was a prizewinner in the NFAA Recognition and Talent Search in 1982. His performance career also included featured appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of the Curtis Institute, the Chicago Youth Symphony, and the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra. In 1995, he moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he became the Assistant Concertmaster of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and then served on the faculties of Ohio Wesleyan University and Denison University.
At age seven, Mr. Niwa took up tennis, and was a gifted athlete, winning numerous Chicago Park District Championships. After graduating from Chicago’s William Taft High School, he moved to Philadelphia to pursue his musical studies at the Curtis Institute of Music and later at The Juilliard School in Manhattan. Mr. Niwa served as the artistic director of Sunday At Central, a chamber music recital series based in Columbus, and of Roycroft Chamber Music Festival in East Aurora, New York. He was passionate about community engagement and teaching, and sharing his passion for music with others.
The Curtis community extends our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Niwa’s wife, Mariko Kaneda-Niwa, his cousin, Larry Niwa, his nephew, Matthew Powel, and all his close friends, family members, and colleagues.