Susanna Yoko Henkel


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 of its issues, and her CDs were praised in music magazines. She was born into a German-Japanese musician family and began to play the violin at the age of two, receiving lessons by her mother. She was the junior student of Rainer Kussmaul at the Music academy in Freiburg, and continued her studies at the Munich Academy with the legendary violin pedagogue Ana Chumachenco.


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, Susanna Yoko Henkel 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 she was engaged as the soloist for the acclaimed “Toyota Classics” tour, which saw her perform the Mendelssohn violin concerto throughout South-East Asia.
Besides her career as a soloist, Susanna Yoko Henkel is a passionate chamber musician, which is why she founded the Zagreb International Chamber Music Festival in 2006, a festival that has already become one of the most important cultural events in Croatia. She is regularly invited to leading international chamber music festivals, such as the Bach Weeks in Ansbach, the Ludwigsburg Castle Festival, Rheingau Festival, or Châtelet Theatre concerts. During the 2009/2010 season, Susanna Yoko Henkel was the “Artist in residence” of the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and as a part of that she took part in various activities, playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, participating in chamber and youth projects.
Her discography is made up by recordings of all the sonatas and partitas by Johann Sebastian Bach, Ravel chamber works, the Prokofiev and the Strauss sonata, as well as solo works by Ysaÿe, Bartók and Isang Yun, and duos for violin and cello by Händel/Halvorsen, Eisler, Schulhoff i Kodály. On her most recent CD, Susanna Yoko Henkel plays Mozart’s violin concertos, which she wrote her own cadenzas for, and conducts the Lithuanian chamber orchestra she was playing with. For the recording of the Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Duisburg Philharmonics, she won the coveted ECHO Klassik 2011 prize.
Since 2010 Susanna Yoko Henkel is holding a professorship at the "Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Tanz" in Cologne.
Susanna Yoko Henkel performs on the 1710 “Ex Leslie Tate” Stradivarius, kindly loaned by a private proprietor.