June Itami

A pioneer of the Suzuki violin method in North America, June’s first of many trips to Japan was in 1967. She became a close friend of Dr. Suzuki and was well known in the Japanese Suzuki community. June was especially instrumental to the development of the Suzuki method in the western U.S. She was beloved by her community and will be remembered throughout the Suzuki world for her contributions to Suzuki education.

A hyperlink to her full obituary may be found via the SAA website:


I was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of June Itami, my first violin teacher who set me on a varied career path of performing and teaching that has spanned more than forty years. Her kind, gentle ways have been a constant guiding light. I was privileged to attend the celebration of her life on Saturday, June 21, 2012, in Nampa, Idaho, where she lived and raised her family. The church was packed with her loving family, colleagues, former students, and friends. It is difficult to say in this short testimonial just how much she meant to me. I studied with her from the age of ten to eighteen, but her presence has remained with me my whole life. I have used her model as a guide in my teaching and have continued to try to push myself beyond my abilities as she did. I have loved her as many others did for her kindness and dedication to the art of music. At her celebration of life I learned that there was much more to her than I ever knew. As with all great people, she was humble and giving in many ways. My childhood was a much better place with her in it. My life was enriched beyond childhood and I hope I can come close to living up to her image. May you rest in peace, Mrs. Itami, with the knowledge of a life well spent behind you. Your legacy lives on in the many lives that you touched.
—Nancy Messuri

Another teacher of the first generation has left us—what a beautiful soul with an unselfish spirit and a first-hand knowledge of Dr. Suzuki. May the teachers trained by her keep the legacy alive.
—Cleo Brimhall

Mrs. Itami honored the spirit of the Suzuki philosophy, the open sharing and community. She inspired a community of teachers who joyously and lovingly worked together for the betterment of the children and not solely for themselves. She understood that music was not just for ego and for the training of virtuosos, but of fine human beings. I miss her and the community in Idaho she mentored. I hope her spirit and the standard and tradition she began is carried on by those who follow.
Much love to you, Sensei.
—Lisa Miles