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Tamamo Gibbs, Principal Second Violin

Tamamo Someya Gibbs began taking violin lessons at the age of 3. At age 6 she entered the Tokyo College of Music Prep School, where she received training in violin performance, aural skills and music theory. Her secondary and post-secondary education took place at Toho High School and Toho College of Music under the tutelage of Kenji Kobayashi. Upon graduation, she played for the Shinsei Japan Symphony Orchestra for several months before the New World Symphony in Miami Beach invited her to join as a co-principal violinist. In 1995, Gibbs joined the Sacramento Symphony as a core first violinist, and in 1996 joined the first violin section of the Kansas City Symphony. In 1999, she was appointed principal second violinist of the Kansas City Symphony as well as named co-concertmaster of the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra. She has performed in Japan, the United States, France, Monaco, Israel, Brazil and Argentina, and participated in numerous music festivals including the Evian Music Festival in France, the National Repertory Orchestra in Colorado, the Kent/Blossom Music Festival in Ohio, and the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming. Past solo engagements include appearances with the National Repertory Orchestra, the Penn’s Woods Music Festival Orchestra, the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, the Overland Park Orchestra and the Kansas City Symphony. She currently resides in Overland Park, Kansas, with her husband, Mark Gibbs (principal cellist of the Kansas City Symphony), and their two children.

Ten questions about me:

What is your favorite thing about performing music?

Seeing happy faces in the audience after the performance.

Outside of rehearsals, tell us about your practice regimen.

Going back to the very basics is what I always try to remember. Basically, it would be great if I could do everything I tell my students to do. ;)

What year did you join the Kansas City Symphony?


What do you consider your greatest musical accomplishment?

Performing with my KCS colleagues is a huge honor and my greatest musical accomplishment!!

What is your earliest musical memory?

When I turned three, my parents sat me at the table and asked me, with solemn faces, if I wanted to play the violin. I certainly had no idea what the violin was, but I said yes anyways. It is not exactly a musical memory, but definitely my first memory about the violin.

Who do you look to for inspiration?

My husband.

Who is your most inspiring composer?


What music selections would you recommend to someone who is new to classical music?

I’d recommend they watch movies that use some of the great moments from the classical repertoire as part of their soundtracks.

When did you know you wanted to be a professional musician?

Takeshi Kobayashi, my teacher at the Tokyo College of Music prep school, always said to his students: “If you are ambitious enough to try and become the world’s best violinist, you might be lucky enough to become the best violinist in Japan.” I always wanted to become a violinist, but I knew I wanted to be a professional upon hearing those words.

If I weren't a professional musician, my occupation would be: