Professor of Flute
Flutist Mihoko Watanabe, a native of Japan, is Professor of Flute at Ball State University and chair of the Certificate in Entrepreneurial Music program. Before joining the School of Music, Dr. Watanabe taught at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, and the University of Windsor, Canada.
Dr. Watanabe has won competitions sponsored by the Japan Flute Association and the National Flute Association (NFA) and has appeared in Japan, Israel, Canada, England, and the USA as a celebrated and versatile international performer, recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist. She is a member of the faculty woodwind quintet, the MUSICAL ARTS QUINTET (MAQ). The MAQ has been awarded the prestigious 2010 American Masterpieces grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support a performance tour and CD entitled “American Breeze,” released in 2012 from Albany Records. She was the founding member of the HIBIKI (響) Trio, comprised of Ball State faculty (flute, viola, and harp). The Hibiki Trio was invited by the College Music Society (CMS) to present a performance and lecture recital nationally in 2015 and 2016. She was a member of TRIO FLURINETO (flute, clarinet, and piano) at Ball State, and the Trio performed nationally at various universities, the 2010 NFA Convention, and the 2011 International Clarinet Association Convention. Independent of participating in Ball State chamber ensembles, she is a founding member of TRIO PIACERE (flute, cello, piano), which has performed internationally, and a member of DUO VIVA (two flutes). In 2006, DUO VIVA recorded “Doppler Effect,” a CD released by and available from Little Piper. TRIO HARMONIA (flute, viola, and piano) was invited to perform at the 2017 NFA Convention in Minneapolis, MN. On February 2, 2024, DUO ROUGE (two flutes) will release an album of Flute Music by Nathan Froebe, entitled “Two by Three,” from Parma Recordings.
Dr. Watanabe has held principal flute positions and performed with American and Canadian orchestras. She is the principal flutist of the Orchestra Indiana (former Muncie Symphony Orchestra) and has performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Previously, she has performed with the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra, Lansing Philharmonic Orchestra, Farmington Area Philharmonic, Warren Symphony Orchestra, Pontiac-Oakland Symphony, Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra, Brevard Music Center Orchestra, Windsor Symphony Orchestra (Canada), and Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra (Canada). In 2012, she premiered From Days of Yore, a flute concerto written by Jody Nagel, with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra. In 2007, she was invited to perform CPE Bach Flute Concerto in d minor with the Mt. Carmel Chamber Orchestra in Israel. Dr. Watanabe has performed numerous lecture recitals, panel discussions, and workshops at conferences nationally and internationally, such as the annual conferences of the National Flute Association (NFA), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Flöte e.V. (DGfF e.V.), British Flute Society, International Double Reed Society, International Clarinet Association, and CMS. She has also been invited to perform for regional flute festivals in the USA. Dr. Watanabe is an enthusiastic teacher and travels widely as a clinician, presenting master classes throughout the United States, Canada, and Japan. She has adjudicated at national and international competitions, including the Kiwanis Music Festival in Canada, Regional Flute Festival competitions in the USA, and various NFA Competitions (Young Artist, Arts Venture, and Graduate Research). She was appointed to be on the Brevard Music Center summer festival faculty in 2005, and she has been on the Music for All Summer Symposium faculty since 2012, the Benefic Chamber Music Camp faculty since 2013, and the Fresno Opera & Orchestra Summer Academy (FOOSA) since 2015. As a pedagogue, she was featured in the December issue of Flute Talk magazine in 2009.
In addition to being a gifted flutist, Dr. Watanabe is also devoted to ethnomusicology, which she studied extensively at the University of Michigan. Her interest in Japanese traditional music led to a faculty development grant from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, to research Kazuo Fukushima’s Mei for solo flute in Japan. Her research resulted in a feature article in the Spring 2008 issue of The Flutist Quarterly. It led to lecture recitals at the 2007 NFA Convention, the 2010 British Flute Association Convention in England, and the 2013 International Flute Festival at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg in Germany. In 2011, her article was translated into Dutch and published in the Nederlands Fluit Genootschap’s Fluit, the official journal of the Dutch Flute Association. 2013, the article was translated into German for the DGfG e.V.’s Flöte aktuell, official journal.
As an advocate of studies in entrepreneurship in music, Dr. Watanabe participated in the Savvy Musicians in Action Workshop in 2015 and received the top prize in “the 2015 SAVVY Arts Venture Challenge” with Janet’s band. 2016, she was invited to present at the CMS National Conference in Santa Fe, NM, and the National Association of School of Music (NASM) Conferences in Dallas, TX, 2016. She was invited to be a panelist and a facilitator for a meeting for the 2019 Carolina/CMS Summit 2.0: 21st Century Music. In 2021, she will present at the NETMCDO 2021 Virtual Conference.
Dr. Watanabe served as the Greater Indianapolis Flute Club president from 2010 to 2013 and is currently the flute club board member. She is a member of the NFA Performance Health Care Committee.
Dr. Watanabe received her doctorate from the University of Michigan, her master’s degree and performer's certificate from the Eastman School of Music, and her bachelor’s degree from the Musashino Academia Musicae in Tokyo, Japan. Her teachers have included Bonita Boyd, Leone Buyse, Fenwick Smith, and Takao Saeki. She attended the Aspen Music Festival with Martha Aaron and Mark Sparks, Julius Baker’s Summer Masterclasses, Orchestral Institute with Ervin Monroe, and Domaine Forget International Music and Dance Academy with Alain Marion, Emmanuel Pahud, Lise Daoust, André Papillon, and Jean Morin. Also, she participated in Jeanne Baxtresser’s Orchestral Masterclass in Maryland and Walfrid Kujala’s Orchestral Masterclass in Chicago. She also has privately studied with Jeff Zook.