S&R Foundation Announces 2012 S&R Washington Award Winners

December 10, 2012 - Washington, DC — The S&R Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports talented individuals with high aspirations in the arts and sciences, today announced the winners of the 2012 S&R Washington Award. The S&R Washington Award was established in 2001 to recognize talented young artists who contribute to international cultural understanding through the fine arts, music, drama, dance, photography, and film.

"The four recipients of the 2012 S&R Washington Award represent a variety of artistic talents, but all encompass the international understanding that is a key component of the S&R Foundation's core mission. We are proud to recognize this elite group of artists," said Dr. Sachiko Kuno, president of S&R Foundation. "Over the past year we've had the opportunity to introduce past Washington Award winners to sold out audiences and respected music critics through the Overtures Concert Series. We look forward to supporting the 2012 winners in furthering their careers."

The S&R Washington Award recipients for 2012 are:

Tsunenori "Lee" Abe – Japanese composer, arranger, performer and producer, Mr. Abe composes for a range of instrumentation, from solo piano, pop rock, and big band, to world-class orchestras like the Boston Pops. His name is recognized in the vocal jazz world for his arrangements both in the U.S. and in Japan. In his current role as an Assistant Professor for the Contemporary Writing and Production department at Berklee College of Music, Mr. Abe shares his love of composing and the inspiration his cultural heritage brings with students from all over the world.

Junichi Fukuda – An accomplished dancer, Mr. Fukuda has performed with prestigious institutions including Ballet Tech/NY, Oakland Ballet and the New York Baroque Dance Company. A native of Japan, Mr. Fukuda's choreography has been presented throughout the world in France, Japan, Brazil and Germany. Most recently, Mr. Fukuda has been commissioned to choreograph a work for Christopher K. Morgan & Artists in spring 2013. Mr. Fukuda believes that artists have the unique position to cross cultural barriers with their imaginations.

Mamiko Hirai – Ms. Hirai began her musical career at a young age, studying classical piano intensely by age seven. Ms. Hirai has provided music for numerous commercials, television shows and films. In recent years her focus has moved to solo piano concerts and recording albums, with an upcoming release planned for 2013. Ms. Hirai participated in an S&R Foundation concert previously with the classical guitarist Soichi Muraji in 2011. It was her first concert outside of Japan and Ms. Hirai was inspired by the opportunity to communicate across cultures through music.

Ayane Kozasa – Ms. Kozasa is a highly regarded violist and has recently been recognized by awards that will lead her to tours across Europe and the U.S. Her talent has been featured in the Strad and Strings magazines, and her performances have been broadcast on radio stations in Chicago and Philadelphia. Ms. Kozasa actively pursues the expansion of her international understanding of music, seeking opportunities to learn from musicians in the U.S., Europe and Japan, with a goal of creating a musical bridge between these unique cultures.

Award recipients receive a $5,000 prize to support their emerging careers. Many previous Washington Award winners have performed at the S&R Foundation-hosted Overtures Concert Series with performances at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Terrace Theater and the Evermay estate. Beginning this March the 2013 Overtures Spring Concert Series will showcase world-class musicians, including several past Washington Award winners and many performers from last year's sold out performances.

About the S&R Foundation

The S&R Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created in 2000 to support talented individuals with great potential and high aspirations in the sciences and arts, especially those who are furthering international cultural collaboration. Our goals are simple, yet bold: to create, support and facilitate initiatives that encourage scientific and artistic innovation, and promote cultural and personal growth. For more information, visit www.SandRFoundation.org.