Bard Faculty

Kayo Iwama

Associate Director Graduate Vocal Arts Program / Co-director Collaborative Piano Fellowship

Primary Academic Program: Bard Conservatory of Music: Vocal Arts

Academic Program Affiliation(s): Bard Conservatory of Music, Bard Conservatory of Music: Piano Fellowship


American pianist Kayo Iwama is the associate director of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, working in tandem with the artistic director, the internationally acclaimed American soprano Dawn Upshaw. Other collaborations with Dawn Upshaw include master classes and a recital at the Britten-Pears Young Artist Program at the Aldeburgh Music Festival, and appearances at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Virginia, the University of Wyoming, Edward Pickman Hall at the Longy School of Music and the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. In addition, Kayo Iwama has concertized extensively with singers including Kendra Colton, William Hite, Rufus Müller, Christòpheren Nomura and Lucy Shelton throughout North America, Europe and Japan, performing at venues such as the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, The Morgan Library, Boston’s Jordan Hall, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, the Kennedy Center, the Token Creek Music Festival, Tokyo’s Yamaha Hall and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. The Washington Post has called her a pianist “with unusual skill and sensitivty to the music and the singer” and the Boston Globe has praised her “virtuoso accompaniment…super-saturated with gorgeuos colors”. For over two decades she taught at the Tanglewood Music Center, where she also served as the coordinator of the Vocal Studies Program for fifteen years. There she has worked with some of today’s most promising young singers and collaborative pianists, and assisted Maestros James Levine, Seiji Ozawa and Robert Spano in major operatic and concert productions. In addition her teaching has taken her to some of the foremost universities of the United States and Taiwan to give master classes and performances. She is currently on the faculty of Songfest.

A former resident of the Boston, Massachusetts area, Kayo Iwama was a frequent performer on WGBH radio, and performed with such groups as the Florestan Recital Project, the Handel and Haydn Society and Emmanuel Music. In addition she was the pianist and music director of the critically acclaimed Cantata Singers Chamber Series, creating programs devoted to rarely-heard works of art song and vocal chamber music. She was formerly on the faculties of the Hartt School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music and Boston Conservatory.

Ms. Iwama earned a bachelor of music degree at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree at the State University of New York at Stony Brook where she studied with Gilbert Kalish. She also attended the Salzburg Music Festival, the Banff Music Center, the Music Academy of the West and the Tanglewood Music Center, where she worked with such artists as Margo Garrett, Martin Isepp, Graham Johnson, Martin Katz and Erik Werba. She has served previously on the music staffs of the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She can be heard in recording on the Well-Tempered label, with baritone Christópheren Nomura in Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, two ISMM discs devoted to French mélodies and the songs of Schumann with tenor Ingul Ivan Oak, and on the recently released The Reckless Heart with soprano Kendra Colton, a collection of 20th century American and British song.


Phone: 845-752-2306
Department: Bard Conservatory of Music
Location: László Z. Bitó '60 Conservatory Building
Office: Bitó 201