Described by the New York Times as having “especially eloquent playing,” Ken Hamao is a dynamic musician renowned for his sensitive interpretation. In addition to the violin, he performs on the viola and mandolin, and is an avid proponent of contemporary music.
Ken is a member of the Grammy-nominated Ensō String Quartet, whose 2015-16 season featured worldwide tours of Australia, Brazil, Colombia, and New Zealand, along with performances at the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center. With the quartet, he helped found the Ensō Chamber Music Workshop in Connecticut, and has taught at the Astoria Music Festival, Interlochen Center for the Arts, SoCal Chamber Music Workshop, and the Port Townsend Chamber Music Festival. As a much sought-after chamber musician, he has collaborated with members of the Borromeo, Cavani, Daedalus, Guarneri, and Momenta quartets, as well as former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
In addition to his activities with the Ensō String Quartet, Ken is a core member of Argento Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Échappé, and New York Classical Players, and has appeared frequently with the East Coast Chamber Orchestra and Talea Ensemble. An active presence in contemporary music, he has worked in close collaboration with eminent composers of our time, including John Adams, Brian Ferneyhough, Georg Friedrich Haas, Giya Kancheli, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Paul Moravec, Andrew Norman, and John Zorn.
Ken attended both Columbia University and the Juilliard School as part of the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange Program. His mentors include Masao Kawasaki, Ronald Copes, Mark Steinberg, Robert Lipsett, and Zakhar Bron.
Outside of music, Ken is equally passionate about aviation, cocktails, and cooking.