The Japanese oboist, Keisuke Wakao performed with the New Japan Philharmonic under Seiji Ozawa in 1985 and made his concerto debut with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra under Kazuyoshi Akiyama in the summer of 1989. He made his Tokyo recital debut in 1997 and performed with pianist Christoph Eschenbach in a recital at Sapporo's 1998 Pacific Music Festival.
Keisuke Wakao received his performance diploma from Manhattan School of Music, where he served on the faculty following his graduation in 1987. His teachers include former New York Philharmonic Orchestra principal oboe Joseph Robinson at the Manhattan School, and joined the school’s faculty immediately following his graduation. Other teachers include former Japan Philharmonic Orchestra principal Takahisa Shinmatsu; Yoriko Sato; former NHK Symphony Orchestra principal Yoko Kojima; former Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal Ray Still; former Boston Symphony Orchestra principals Alfred Genovese, and Ralph Gomberg at the Tanglewood Music Center (TMC), where he was a Fellow. He has also worked with Maurice Bourgue in France.
A talented and comitted teacher himself, Keisuke Wakao founded the annual Keisuke Wakao Oboe Camp in Tokyo in 1988 and is currently on the faculties of both the New England Conservatory and the Longy School of Music. He is also director of the Daikanyama Hillside Terrace Music Festival in Tokyo, founder of the Church of the Redeemer Concert Series in Chestnut Hill and the Ventfort Hall Summer Chamber Music Concert Series in Lenox, and sponsor of the American-Japanese Cultural Concert Series, which featured performances with Yasushi Toyoshima, Kazusa Mizutani, Emanuel Ax (2010), Christoph Eschenbach, Masaharu Yamamoto, and Maurice Bourgue.
Keisuke Wakao was a member of the New World Symphony, founded by Michael Tilson Thomas, beginning with its inaugural season in 1988. He was appointed assistant principal oboe of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal oboe of the Boston Pops Orchestra in the fall of 1990. The legendary composer and former Boston Pops Orchestra conductor, John Williams, with whom he collaborated in a performance of W.A. Mozart's Oboe Concerto with the Boston Pops Orchestra in 1994. has written an oboe concerto for Wakao, who plays its world premiere on May 25 and 26, 2011, with John Williams conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra at Symphony Hall, Boston. He also performed a movement of the concerto for the Boston Symphony Orchestra's John Williams 80th Birthday Celebration at Tanglewood in August 2012.
Keisuke Wakao has made three solo recordings on the Denon label, including "Abendlied" (1997) with pianist Christoph Eschenbach, and "Keisuke Wakao Plays John Williams" (1998), a disc featuring film music by the John Williams. Wakao’s recording of John Williams' Oboe Concerto with the Boston Pops Orchestra and John Williams is available as a digital download via iTunes and BSO.org. His most recent recording, a disc of French repertoire recorded in Paris, was released by Warner Classics in April 2014.
Keisuke Wakao plays on a Lorée oboe AK model.