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.  

Mr. Hamao is the newest member of the Grammy-nominated Ensō String Quartet.  Upcoming engagements with the quartet include performances at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society with Michael Tree and Peter Wiley, a Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert, St. Barts Music Festival in the French West Indies, and visits to Johns Hopkins University, Goshen College, and Rockefeller University.

As a core member of the Argento Chamber Ensemble, Mr. Hamao has held visiting residencies at Smith College, Sonoma State University, and the Institute of Advanced Study.  Additionally, he has performed with Gil Shaham, Shlomo Mintz, the Borromeo Quartet, Merry Peckham, Anne Manson, John Zorn, East Coast Chamber Orchestra, Metropolis Ensemble, the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, and AXIOM, and can be heard on Tzadik Records.

Mr. Hamao has appeared as a soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra, the Kobe City Chamber Orchestra, the American Youth Symphony and the YMF Debut Orchestra.  He has been a prizewinner at several competitions, including the Concours International de Violon Sion Valais, the Bronislaw Kaper Awards, and the Kingsville International Violin Competition.

As part of the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange Program, Ken received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Psychology from Columbia University and a Master in Music from Juilliard.  He is currently a C.V. Starr doctoral fellow at the Juilliard School, focusing on the operas of Leoš Janáček and Giacomo Puccini for his dissertation.  His mentors include Masao Kawasaki, Ronald Copes, Mark Steinberg, Robert Lipsett, and Zakhar Bron.