Rei Hotoda is rapidly becoming one of America’s most sought after and dynamic artists. She has appeared as a guest conductor with many of today’s leading ensembles, including the Symphony Orchestras of Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, Fort Worth, Jacksonville, Utah, Toronto, and Winnipeg, as well as the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Colorado and the St. Louis Symphonies, among others. Her repertoire spans the masterful staples of the classical canon to works by the leading composers of today and she is equally at home leading the orchestra from the piano as well as from the podium.
Guest conducting debuts, return appearances, education outreach, and programs that feature wide-ranging repertoire, outline Ms. Hotoda’s 2016-17 season. She continues her tenure with the Utah Symphony Orchestra as their Associate Conductor and will lead the ensemble in a myriad of concerts that showcase her artistic diversity. She conducts the USO in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun, and Ravel’s Tzigane in a special concert in Cedar City, UT. She leads the orchestra in a program of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2, Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, and Prokofiev’s Lt. Kije Suite in St. George at Dixie State University’s Cox Auditorium. In Abravanel Hall, Ms. Hotoda will lead the USO in several different programs, including their much lauded Salute to Youth concert, which will feature several concerti performed by talented young orchestral students selected from Utah-area high schools; Halloween and Holiday family offerings; as well as a number of education concerts for thousands of students and teachers from across the state. She will also tour with the USO to area schools throughout Utah. Additionally, she will work closely with Music Director Thierry Fischer on several live concert recordings throughout the season and will be leading the USO in a number of programs in the summer of 2017 at the Deer Park Music Festival.
Ms. Hotoda’s guest conducting debuts with the Fresno Philharmonic, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, San Luis Obispo Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony Nova Scotia and return to the Thunder Bay Symphony punctuate her 2016-17 season. With the Fresno Philharmonic, Ms. Hotoda will collaborate with pianist Shai Wosner as she leads the orchestra in a program that features Beethoven’s monumental Concerto No. 5 (Emperor), Zhou Long’s The Rhyme of Taigu, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. Her debut with the San Luis Obispo Symphony Orchestra will feature Gershwin’s Piano Concerto, with Ji as soloist; Copland’s An Outdoor Overture; and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. She will lead Symphony the Nova Scotia in a performance of Vivian Fung’s String Sinfonietta; Vaughn Williams’ The Lark Ascending and Concerto in A minor for Oboe and Strings, with Suzanne Lemieux as soloist; and Haydn’s Symphony No. 94. Ms. Hotoda returns to the Thunder Bay Symphony for two concerts in 2016-17. In November she will lead the ensemble in Respighi’s Trittico botticelliano; Gilliland’s Dreaming of the Masters III; Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3; and Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, with Jens Lindemann as soloist, and in March she will collaborate with comic diva, Natalie Choquette.
In the 2015-16 season Ms. Hotoda began her tenure as the Utah Symphony Orchestra’s (USO) new Associate Conductor. In this role she has led th orchestra in various programs at Abravanel Hall and in cities throughout Utah, including chamber concerts, regional tours, and those that were part of the Deer Valley Music Festival in Park City. She played an active role in the orchestra’s education department, conducting family, education, and outreach concerts for nearly 49,000 students and 2,400 teachers. She was also a spokesperson for the Utah Symphony’s pre-concert lectures and at community events, including lectures for local arts groups such as the College Orchestra Directors Association, and acted as a mentor for several youth orchestras in a variety of regional guest clinics and performances. Her first season with the USO culminated with the orchestra’s annual All Stars concert, a side-by-side featuring 80 high school students performing alongside members of the USO in a program that included Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Gyula David’s Viola Concerto. Additional highlights of Ms. Hotoda’s 2015-16 season included guest conducting debuts with the North Carolina Symphony and Atlantic Classical Orchestra as well as return engagements with the St. Louis Symphony and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Hotoda’s 2015-16 summer season included performances with the Utah Symphony Orchestra at the Deer Park Music Festival, where she collaborated with such artists as award winning guitarist Pablo Villegas, singer/songwriter Michael Feinstein, the Steep Canyon Rangers, and violinist Will Hagen; she led the orchestra from the piano in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9 at St. Mary’s Church; and conducted a celebration of John Williams. Outdoor and outreach concerts, in different regions of Utah, rounded out the summer.
A consummate advocate of new music, Ms. Hotoda has conducted premieres of works by such notable composers as John Cage, Gene Coleman, Luc Ferrari, Dai Fujikura, and Salvatore Sciarrino, and has championed and recorded compositions by female composers, including Vivian Fung, Jennifer Higdon, and Kotoka Suzuki. She has led one of the country’s most noted contemporary groups, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), in the US premiere of Dai Fujikura’s Abandoned Time a concerto for electric guitar. As part of the Winnipeg New Music Festival, she appeared as both a pianist and conductor, performing works by such composers as George Crumb, Nicole Lizée, Vincent Ho, and Erkki-Sven Tüür, and was a featured conductor and pianist leading the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in Brand Upon the Brain, a film by internationally renowned director, Guy Maddin. Most recently, Ms. Hotoda led the St. Louis Symphony, alongside David Robertson, in the US premiere of John Cage’s Thirty Pieces for Five Orchestras, which garnered much critical acclaim.
As a recording artist, Ms. Hotoda’s credits are wide-ranging and feature her as both conductor and piano soloist. She recorded the music of Nicole Lizée with members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on an album released in 2008 on the Centrediscs label entitled, This Will Not be Televised. Also in 2008, Apparitions, her first recording as a solo pianist, was released by Signpost Records and featured works by Noriko Hisada, Vincent Ho, Vivian Fung, and Toru Takemitsu. Symphony Sessions was released in 2007 (Signpost Records), and featured Ms. Hotoda conducting the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in works by Steve Bell. She has worked very closely with several conductors on major recording projects, including Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony Orchestra on a live recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 that featured the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the orchestra’s separate CD of contemporary works by Andrew Norman and Nico Muhly as well as Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7 with Manfred Honeck leading the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Hotoda is also an accomplished pianist. She is equally at home leading the orchestra from the piano as well as from the podium. She has appeared as soloist conducting from the piano with the Dallas, Edmonton, Utah, and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras, performing works by Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. As a soloist, she has presented works by Beethoven, Gershwin, and Rachmaninoff. She has also given solo piano recitals at the Chicago Cultural Center, Ravinia Music Festival, and the University of Illinois.
Her deep knowledge and remarkable versatility on and off the podium have led to several collaborations and special projects. She has worked with such ensembles and artists as cellists Johannes Moser and Ken Olsen; violinists Will Hagen and Bella Hristova; pianists Jon Nakamatsu and Joyce Yang; guitarist Pablo Villegas; harpist Bridget Kibbey; ensembles such as the Canadian Brass, the Indigo Girls, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Pink Martini; singers Idina Menzel, Jackie Evancho, Michael Feinstein, and Ben Folds; and actor Michael Boudewyns. In addition to her work as a pianist and conductor on Guy Maddin’s film Brand Upon the Brain, she was also a featured actress in a short film by the same director entitled, Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair, starring Isabella Rossellini.
Prior to her growing achievements as a guest conductor, Ms. Hotoda served as assistant conductor at several of today’s leading orchestras and festivals. She was the assistant conductor at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 2009-2012 and led the ensemble in many diverse series both at Meyerson Hall and out in the community. From 2006-2009 she served as the assistant conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) where she led the orchestra in many subscription concerts, including those on the Masterworks series as well as those that were part of the New Music and Baroque Festivals. At the Cabrillo Festival, in 2005, Ms. Hotoda worked very closely with Marin Alsop, the Festival’s Music Director, as her cover conductor, and led the world premiere of Rafael Hernandez’s Unfadeable.
Ms. Hotoda is the proud recipient of several prestigious awards, including the 2006 Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship, created by Marin Alsop to mentor women conductors. Additionally, she has received a Peabody Career Development Grant, the Women’s Philharmonic Scholarship, and an Illinois Arts Council International Arts Exchange Grant.
Ms. Hotoda studied conducting with Gustav Meier at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music.