| Born 1941, Japan
Yoko Oike-Wong is a violinist and teacher of violin. She came to Edmonton from Matsumoto, Japan in 1965 by invitation from the Society for Talent Education for the express purpose of introducing the Suzuki Method, a way of violin training for young children initiated by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki who was Oike-Wong’s teacher and mentor from the age of 7 to 24. Oike-Wong remained in Edmonton since then. She remained with the Society for seven years, and then took a break of six years to raise her children, one of whom has Down syndrome. After that, she opened a private studio to teach violin. Of her teaching and mentoring experience, Oike-Wong says, ‘From over 40 years of working with violin students I am happy to see so many of them now working world wide as solo violinists, orchestra leaders, teachers, community musicians, music therapists, or simply as music lovers with a good knowledge of and passion for classical music. Dr. Suzuki started his movement in hopes of building a society with people who care for and have respect for the beauty of music. (It is a remarkable vision, considering the postwar period when we hardly had enough food to survive.) The meticulous process of learning to play a musical instrument such as the violin contributes to the nurturing of one’s character. Dr. Suzuki never intended to encourage harsh competition among students. He believed the truly gifted would excel by his/her own power and circumstances.’
In 2008, Oike-Wong retired from teaching and now enjoys playing with fellow chamber music lovers. As a volunteer violinist at Alberta Healthcare Services, Oike-Wong has been playing at the weekly Musical Hour at the University of Alberta Hospital, the Mazankowsky Heart Institute, the monthly Musical Hour at the Cross Cancer Research Institute, and at the Pilgrims Hospice.
Of her instrument, Oike-Wong says, ‘My violin has been my best friend all through my life. I am so grateful that I was given an opportunity to live with this versatile friend. Through various ways of participating in the society with my musical skills I have come to realize that music connects people intuitively, directly, heart-to-heart without prejudice.’