© Yuji Hori
Ai Okumura was born in Amsterdam, where she started learning violin at the age of four, and stayed there until she was 7. She graduated from the Toho Gakuen University with the Diploma of Soloists. She has studied with Akiko Tatsumi, and has taken open master class lessons given by such renowned artists as Isaac Stern, Augustin Dumay, György Pauk and Itzhak Perlman.
In 1994 she won the first prize at the 48th Japan National Music Competition for Students in the middle school category. In October 1996, she appeared in a special event titled "Yo-Yo Ma, 1996 Bridging" to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Suntory Hall. In 1997 she won the second prize at Tama Fresh Music Competition. In 1999, on top of winning the first prize in the violin division of the first Super Classic Audition, she was awarded the semi-grand prize at the final round of the all division competition. She also won the second prize in the violin division of the 68th Japan Music Competition.
She has also appeared in a concert sponsored by the Radio France at Courchevel International Music Academy in France, and has performed with Polish National Chamber Orchestra Krakow.
As a soloist, Ai Okumura has actively performs with renowned orchestras of Japan, including the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra, and Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, among many others. She has also appeared at numerous music festivals, including the Saitoh Memorial Festival.
In December 2001, she gave a first solo recital at Tokyo Toppan Hall. In January 2002, she performed with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra under Jiří Bělohlávek to a critical success.Also, she was toured with Sinfonia Finlandia (Jyväskylä Sinfonia) with Patrick Gallois in December 2004.
On October 2002, she released her debut CD "Salut d'amour" from Warner Classics. It caused such a sensation by selling more than 20,000 copies, an extraordinary number in the classical music industry. The recital at the Kioi Hall celebrating the CD release was enthusiastically received. Her second CD "Romance" was released in November, 2003.
She was popularly featured on the TV commercials of Yamaha electronic motorcycle "Passol," and of Suntory "Latte Latte." She is a young rising star who appears on TV and radio programs as well as on TV commercials.
Her third CD, "Maria", was released by Avex Classics on November 2004 and "Liebesleid" and "Entertainer", was released on November 2005. She released her 6th CD 'Poesy' and her first greatest hits album 'THE BEST' in 2008, and 7th CD 'Ladies in lavender' in 2010.