Adrian Anantawan

Associate Professor
Affiliated Departments

For media inquiries, please contact Media Relations

Adrian Anantawan holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music, Yale University, and Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a violinist, he has studied with Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, and Anne-Sophie Mutter; his academic work in education was supervised by Howard Gardner. Memorable moments include performances at the White House, the opening ceremonies of the Athens and Vancouver Olympic Games and the United Nations. He has played for the late Christopher Reeve, Pope John Paul II, and the Dalai Lama.

Anantawan has performed extensively in Canada as a soloist with the orchestras of Toronto, Nova Scotia, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Montreal, Edmonton, and Vancouver. He has also presented feature recitals at the Aspen Music Festival and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Anantawan helped to create the Virtual Chamber Music Initiative at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. The cross-collaborative project brings researchers, musicians, doctors, and educators together to develop adaptive musical instruments capable of being played by a young person with disabilities within a chamber music setting. He is also the founder of the Music Inclusion Program, aimed at having children with disabilities learn instrumental music with their typical peers.

Anantawan is also a Juno Award nominee, a member of the Terry Fox Hall of Fame, and was awarded a Diamond Jubilee Medal from Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to the Commonwealth. He is the current chair of music at Milton Academy and the artistic director of Shelter Music Boston. Throughout the year, Anantawan continues to perform, speak, and teach around the world as an advocate for disability and the arts.

Career Highlights
  • Performed for the Dalai Lama, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2014)
  • Keynote Speaker, Sphinx Conference, Detroit (2014)
  • TED Talks (2013)
  • Performed and lectured at Oxford University (2013)
  • Performed at the opening ceremonies, Vancouver Paralympics (2010)
  • The Kennedy Center Next 50, social impact leader
  • ONEIn3 Impact Awards Winner, City of Boston, Mayor’s Office
  • Diamond Jubilee Medal, Queen Elizabeth II
  • Juno Awards nominee for Best Children's Album, A Butterfly in Time
In Their Own Words

"In music, students express their ideas primarily through their instruments; they need to develop the technical tools to be able to translate musical complexity and distill it in a way that allows those ideas to live in someone else. My classes have always been designed such that the students could work without me if needed, because I encourage them not only to be responsible for themselves, but to also understand the purpose of that responsibility is in larger service to their peers and community."

"Is there room for group expression in a world that increasingly pits the idea of the arts to be a singularly individual experience? While innovation can be self-driven, for any of our ideas to be translated into real-world action, we need to work in teams. My question is: In what ways can classical music evolve in such a way that reflects organizational thinking of today and the future? Not only will we be able to find a way to understand the applications of the arts into cross-disciplinary studies and transference into all facets of life, but we also shape how our art form is structured into the future."

"I believe that all young musicians need to engage in a consistent dialogue of how we can use music as a tool for service and innovation. All students must see their craft, regardless of genre, as the departure point for opening our curiosity of how music is composed, who it’s created for, and why. There are 7 billion people in the world from over 60 countries all trying to figure out how to coexist in this world. Music is an art form that we do as human beings that transcends physical and geographical boundaries, because at its core, it is an idea that represents a human experience that is universal. I have demonstrated this throughout my career both as a performer and leader throughout my career; I intend to continue modeling this to my students, and give them access points and tools to do the same."