Susanna Yoko Henkel belongs to the leading violinists of the young generation. In 2007, the German Welt am Sonntag chose her to be one of Anne Sophie Mutter’s heiresses, the renowned US music journal Strings featured her on the cover of one issue, and her CDs were highly praised by the media.
Susanna Yoko Henkel was born into a German-Japanese musicians’ family and began to play the violin at the age of two. She studied with the legendary violin pedagogue Ana Chumachenco in Munich, before that she was a student of the former concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Rainer Kussmaul. Already during her studies Susanna Yoko Henkel won eminent prizes at international competitions, among them the “Queen-Elisabeth” competition in Brussels, the “Mozart Competition” in Salzburg and the “Tibor Varga” Competition in Sion. She won the first prize at the German Music Competition in Berlin, followed by a scholarship by the Mozart Society Dortmund and the “Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben” Trust Award.
Since then, she has worked intensely as a soloist, appearing with leading orchestras, such as the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the orchestras of the SWR and MDR stations, Symphony Orchestras of Aachen and Duisburg, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the Mozarteum Orchestra and the KBS Symphony Orchestra from Seoul. In 2003 Susanna was engaged as the soloist for the acclaimed “Toyota Classics” tour, which saw her perform the Mendelssohn violin concerto throughout South-East Asia.
In addition to her career as a soloist, Susanna Yoko Henkel is a passionate chamber musician. In 2006 she founded the Zagreb International Chamber Music Festival. It is now well established as one of the country’s major cultural events and has been televised by Croatian public television HTV since 2007. Her chamber music partners include Pavel Gililov, Lauma Skride, Itamar Golan, Milana Chernyavska, Jing Zhao and Maxim Rysanov. She is regularly invited to leading international chamber music festivals, such as the Ansbacher Bachwoche, the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, the Rheingau-Musik-Festival and the concerts in the Paris Châtelet Theatre.
During the 2009/2010 season, Susanna Yoko Henkel was “Artist in Residence” of the Duisburg Philharmonic and in this capacity has not only performed and recorded Tschaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, but also took part in several Chamber Music projects and Youth events.
Her discography includes the complete recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, chamber music works of Maurice Ravel, Sergei Prokofjev and Richard Strauss, solo works of Ysaye, Bartók and Isang Yun, duo works for violin and violoncello by Handel/Halvorsen, Eisler, Schulhoff and Kodály and the recording of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, for which Susanna Yoko Henkel was awarded with the prestigious “ECHO Klassik” award in 2011.
In October 2011, Susanna Yoko Henkel releases her most recent CD with Mozart violin concertos. For this recording, Susanna has led the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and has written her own cadenzas.
Susanna is especially committed to caring for future generations; she has been appointed as professor of violin at the Cologne University of Music in 2010.
Susanna Yoko Henkel performs on the 1710 “Ex Leslie Tate” Stradivarius, kindly loaned by a private proprietor.