Megumi Kanda, Principal Trombone of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is a native of Tokyo, Japan. Megumi began to play the trombone at age ten and continued her studies at the prestigious Toho High School of Music, where she studied with Sumio Miwa, trombonist in the NHK Symphony. At age fifteen, she became the youngest player ever to be named as one of the top ten trombonists at the Japanese Wind and Percussion Competition. Two years later she won the Grand Prize in the National Competition for Solo Trombone and won best soloist prize upon graduation from the Toho High School of Music.
Megumi came to the United States in 1994, and received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with James DeSano, former Principal Trombone of the Cleveland Orchestra. Prior to joining the Milwaukee Symphony in 2002, she previously served as a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, faculty member of the Eastman School of Music Community Education Division, and Principal Trombonist of the Albany Symphony Orchestra.
In April 2006, Megumi was recognized by the Arion Foundation in Tokyo, Japan as one of the most influential Japanese classical artists. She has also received a Certificate of Commendation from the Consul General of Japan at Chicago in recognition for distinguished service contributing to the friendship between the United States and Japan. Megumi was named a 2017 Woman of Influence by the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Megumi has performed in recital and as a soloist across the United States, Europe and Asia, including with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Pershing’s Own Army Band, the US Army Field Band, and the Prague Chamber Orchestra. Works dedicated to her include Geoffrey Gordon’s Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra, premiered with the Milwaukee Symphony in 2011, and Amy Mills’ Red Dragonfly for trombone and piano, premiered at the 2013 International Trombone Festival. She has also enjoyed a long collaboration with composer/pianist Bruce Stark, performing premieres of his works at the 2013 and 2017 International Trombone Festivals.
Megumi’s first book, The One Hundred, a collection of orchestral trombone excerpts with accompanying commentary, was published in August 2015 and is a resource widely used by aspiring young trombonists around the world.
As a JVC/Victor Entertainment artist, Megumi has recorded three solo albums: Amazing Grace, Gloria, and Mona Lisa. She also can be heard on Magnifique Live, a live recording of Megumi and other JVC artists in the August 2005 performance at Takemitsu Hall in Tokyo’s Opera City.
Megumi is proud to be a Greenhoe clinician and perform on a Greenhoe trombone.
An avid gardener, Megumi was chosen to participate in the 2013 Garden Tour in Shorewood, WI. She also enjoys going to Milwaukee Brewers games and taking walks with her husband Dietrich Hemann and sons Hans, Max and Lukas.