Ayako Oshima, winner of numerous international competitions including the 55th JapanMusic Competition in Tokyo, the Winds and Percussion Competition in Japan, and 3rd Prize winner in the 17th International Jeunesses Musicales Competition in Belgrade, where she also received the Golden Harp award given to the favorite of the audience and critics, is one of the most popular clarinet soloists in Japan. She performs on a regular basis both in recital and in concerto appearances with orchestra, highlights of which have included performances in Osaka, Nagoya, Kobe, Tanuma, at the Casals Hall, Kioi Hall, and Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo, and with the Hiroshima, Osaka and, most recently in a gala concert featuring the Bernstein Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs, with the NHK Symphony.
Ms. Oshima is quite active in chamber music festivals. Festivals at which Ms. Oshima has appeared include the Kuhmo Festival in Finland, the Festival Consonances in France, the Sarasota Summer Music Festival, and Chamber Music Silicon Valley. Ms. Oshima was a founding member of L’Art Respirant, one of the first new music ensembles in Japan and also was a member of the noted ensemble, Contrasts Quartet. She has been involved playing historical instruments since 1991 and as a member of the acclaimed period instrument ensemble, Mozzafiato, she has recorded several CDs for the SONY Vivarte label. Other labels for which she has recorded include Toshiba EMI, Victor Japan, Naxos and Bridge. She recently released Bel Canto: music for two clarinets for the Aurora label.
In addition to her performing career, she maintains a high profile as a teacher and is on the faculties of the the Hartt School, the State University of New York at Purchase, and the Juilliard School. She has also served on the juries of the Japan Music Competition, the Japan Winds, Percussion International Competition, and the Jacques Lancelot International Clarinet Competition. Ms. Oshima has founded and is the Director of the Kita Karuizawa Music Seminar which attracts clarinet students from all over Asia and has become the most important clarinet seminar in Japan. With her husband, Charles Neidich, she has written a book on the fundamentals of clarinet technique for the publisher, Toa Ongaku Inc. and writes a monthly column on music and the clarinet for Pipers Magazine. In 2011, She founded the all female Clarinet Ensemble, NY Licorice Ensemble. NY Licorice Ensemble already has released two CDS, is in the process of releasing their 3rd. They have performed throughout Japan and in New Yorkand have been featured on NHK television.
In September, 2017, Ayako Oshima founded the WA Concert Series in New York with concept of “Great Taste” connecting music and food.
Michael Miller, New York Arts wrote: I should not forget to mention that the last interior page of the program was a menu. Ayako Oshima, an outstanding clarinettist and Mr. Neidich’s wife, is also a chef of high accomplishments. There was wine and a few snacks before the concert, a bit more during the intermission, and then a full spread afterwards, consisting of an international selection of dishes somehow suitable for the music—but it had nothing to do with those preciously “curated” tastings. Both of the Wa Concerts I have mentioned ended with a feast of this sort, which unleashed a dash of joyous, appreciative conversation about the music we had just heard.