Marlene Ito,

1st Principal of the 2nd Violins

Born in Yokohama (Japan)

Member since 2011-09-01


Prizewinner in the International Max Rostal Competition 2006, First Prize in the Kendall National Violin Competition

“I grew up in Australia. When I was 16 years old, my parents went back to Japan while I stayed in Sydney. My father would regularly send me videos with television recordings of the Berliner Philharmoniker concerts in Japan. I was especially impressed by the recording of Mahler’s Third Symphony under Claudio Abbado with Toru Yasunaga as concertmaster. His playing was wonderful and I determined that one day I would get to know him and the orchestra. I could not possibly then have imagined ever playing in it – and actually studying as an Academy scholar with Toru Yasunaga! The first time I performed in the Philharmonic was exactly how I had imagined it: an orchestra that forms a complete unity and plays with 150% dedication and passion. It’s a musical paradise. I am so grateful to be a part of this incomparable ensemble.”

When her mother asked Marlene Ito if she’d like to learn the violin, the four-year-old little girl had no idea what it was, but right from her first lesson she was delighted with the instrument. After studying at the conservatory in Sydney with Goetz Richter, in 2003 Marlene Ito went to Germany where she continued her training at the Lübeck Musikhochschule as well as the Universität der Künste in Berlin with Nora Chastain. While still a student she became a scholar of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Karajan Academy (2006-2008).

She also attended numerous masterclasses, including those of Pinchas Zukerman, Zakhar Bron, Walter Levin and the Artemis Quartet. As well as gathering orchestral experience as an intern with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the NDR Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg and deputizing in ensembles including Berlin’s Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and Cologne’s Gürzenich Orchestra.

Her first permanent engagement was in 2009, when she became First Konzertmeister of Berlin’s Komische Oper. From there, she moved in September 2011 to the Berliner Philharmoniker. Since March 2020, Marlene Ito has been 1st principal of her violin section. She has appeared as soloist with orchestras such as the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, National Radio Orchestra of Ireland, Berliner Symphoniker, Hamburger Symphoniker and Kammerakademie Potsdam with conductors including Lorin Maazel, Ivan Fischer, Michael Sanderling, Georg Fritzsch and Richard Gill. Marlene Ito is an active chamber musician, too. She is a member of the Varian Fry Quartet(all members of the Berliner Philharmoniker) which has performed in Asia, USA and Europe. Her chamber music colleagues include Andras Schiff, Tabea Zimmermann, Vineta Sareika and leading members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. She is also a member of the Strings Faculty at the University of the Arts Berlin as Assistant to Nora Chastain.