Flutist Mihoko Watanabe, a native of Japan, is Professor of Flute and the chair of Entrepreneurial Music Certificate program at Ball State University (BSU). Prior to joining the School of Music, Dr. Watanabe taught at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, the Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Windsor, Canada.
A celebrated and versatile international performer, Dr. Watanabe has won competitions sponsored by both the Japan Flute Association and the National Flute Association (NFA), and has appeared in Japan, Israel, Canada, England, and USA as a recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist. She has been the member of the faculty woodwind quintet, the MUSICAL ARTS QUINTET (MAQ). The MAQ has been awarded the prestigious 2010 American Masterpieces grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support a performance tour and CD, entitled “American Breeze, ” which was released in 2012 from Albany Records. Also, she was the founding member of the HIBIKI (響) Trio (flute, viola, and harp). The Hibiki has been invited to College Music Society to present performance and lecture recital in 2015 and 2016 nationally. She is a member of TRIO FLURINETO (flute, clarinet, and piano) at Ball State University. The TRIO FLURINETO has performed nationally at various universities, the 2010 NFA Convention, and 2011 International Clarinet Association Convention. Independent of her participation in BSU chamber ensembles, she is a founding member of TRIO PIACERE (flute, cello, piano), which has performed internationally, and a member of DUO VIVA (two flutes). In 2006, DUO VIVA recorded “Doppler Effect,” a CD released by and available from Little Piper. TRIO HARMONIA (flute, viola and piano), a new trio, has been invited to perform at the 2017 NFA Convention in Minneapolis, MN.
She has held several principle flute positions and performed with American and Canadian orchestras. Currently, she is the principal flutist of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Previously, she has performed with Aspen Music Festival Orchestra, Lansing Philharmonic Orchestra, Farmington Area Philharmonic, Warren Symphony Orchestra, Pontiac-Oakland Symphony, Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra and Brevard Music Center Orchestra in US, and Windsor Symphony Orchestra and Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra in Canada. In 2012, she premiered From Days of Yore, a flute concerto written by Jody Nagle, with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra. In 2007, she was invited to perform CPE Bach Flute Concerto in d minor with Mr. Carmel Chamber Orchestra in Israel.
Dr. Watanabe has performed numerous performances, lecture recitals, panel discussions, and workshops at conferences nationally and internationally, such as the annual conferences of the National Flute Association (NFA), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Flöte e.V. (DGfF e.V.), British Flute Society, International Double Reed Society, International Clarinet Association, International Horn Society, and College Music Society. Also, she has been invited to perform for regional flute festivals in USA.
Dr. Watanabe is an enthusiastic teacher and travels widely as a clinician, presenting masterclasses throughout the United States, Canada, and Japan. She has adjudicated at national and international competitions, Kiwanis Music Festival in Canada, Regional Flute Festival competitions in USA, and various NFA Competitions (Young Artist, Arts Venture, Convention Performers, and Graduate Research). She was appointed to be on the faculty of the Brevard Music Center summer festival in 2005, and she has been on faculty of the Music for All Summer Symposium 2012, the Benefic Chamber Music Camp since 2013, and Fresno Opera & Orchestra Summer Academy (FOOSA) since 2015. As a pedagogue, she was featured in the December issue of Flute Talk magazine in 2009.
In addition to being a gifted flutist, Dr. Watanabe is also devoted to the field of ethnomusicology, which she studied extensively at the University of Michigan. Her interest in Japanese traditional music led to a faculty development grant from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in order to research Kazuo Fukushima’s Mei for solo flute in Japan. Her research resulted in a feature article in the Spring 2008 issue of the Flutist Quarterly, and led to lecture recitals at the 2007 NFA Convention, the 2010 British Flute Association Convention in England, and the 2013 International Flute Festival at the Hochschele für Musik Freiburg in Germany. In 2011, her article was translated into Dutch and published in the Nederlands Fluit Genootschap’s Fluit, the official journal of the Dutch Flute Association. In 2013, the article was translated into German for the DGfG e.V.’s Flöte aktuell, official journal.
As advocate of Entrepreneurial Music Study for the future musicians, she has participated in Savvy Musicians in Action Workshop in 2015 and received the top prize “the 2015 SAVVY Arts Venture Challenge” with Janet’s band. In 2016, she was invited to give a presentation at the College Music Society (CMS) National Conference in Santa Fe, NM, and at the National Association of School of Music (NASM) Conferences in Dallas, TX, in 2016. In 2018, she was invited to be one of the panel and meeting leader for the Carolina/CMS Summit 2.0: 21st Century Music School Design Conference in South Carolina.
Dr. Watanabe has served as the president of the Greater Indianapolis Flute Club 2010-2013, and currently is a member of NFA flute club committee and CMS Editorial Board for the Pedagogies and Innovations Series and Advisory Council for Performance
Dr. Watanabe received her doctoral degree from the University of Michigan, her master’s degree and performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music, and her bachelor’s degree from the Musashino Academia Musicae in Tokyo. Her teachers have included Bonita Boyd, Leone Buyse, Fenwick Smith, Takao Saeki, and Ervin Monroe. She also attended Aspen Music Festival, Julius Baker’s Summer Masterclasses, Orchestral Institute, and Domaine Forget International Music and Dance Academy. Additional study include with Emmanueal Pahud, Julius Baker, Jeanne Baxtresser, Jeff Zook, Alain Marion, Brad Garner, Martha Aaron, Mark Sparks, and Jean Morin.