One of the greatest violists of her generation, Nobuko Imai studied viola at the Toho School of Music in Japan, her home country, before continuing her studies at Yale and then at Juilliard in the USA.
First prize winner in the Munich, Geneva and Suntory Music competitions, she was a member of the Vermeer Quartet for many years. She is also a highly sought-after teacher, teaching regularly at the Amsterdam and Geneva conservatoires and giving masterclasses. She has made more than forty recordings for companies such as BIS, Chandos, EMI, Hyperion, Phillips and Sony Classical.
She has collaborated with great orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Symphony, the BBC Orchestras, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Boston and Chicago Symphonies. She returns to Japan on a regular basis; she is Artistic Adviser to the Casal Hall’s annual “Viola Space” as well as to the Casals Hall Ensemble. As a chamber musician, she has performed with Ronald Brautigam, Gidon Kremer, Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, the accordionist Mie Miki, Itzhak Perlman, Andras Schiff, Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman. She is also a member of the Michelangelo String Quartet which she formed with Mihaela Martin, Stephan Picard and Frans Helmerson. She is regularly invited as part of the artists in Verbier as much as part of the teachers of the Verbier Festival Academy.