Conductors

Pietari INKINEN, Chief Conductor ピエタリ・インキネン[首席指揮者]

ⓒAtsushi Yamaguchi

In 2015 Pietari Inkinen became Chief Conductor of Prague Symphony Orchestra and the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele. In 16/17 he also takes up the role of Chief Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, having held the role of Principal Guest since 2009.  From September 2017 he will become Chief Conductor of the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie and he is also Honorary Conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having previously been Music Director from 2008 to 2016.

As a guest conductor Inkinen has worked with the Staatskapelle Berlin, Munich Philharmonic, La Scala Philharmonic, Orchestra of Santa Cecilia, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Vienna Radio Symphony, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Spanish National Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony, Swedish Radio Symphony and Oslo Philharmonic as well as the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Leipzig Gewandhaus.

Highlights of the 2016/2017 season include Inkinen’s debuts with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and the RSB Berlin as well as performances of a highly successful new production of Eugene Onegin at the Dresden Semperoper.  He will also take the Prague Symphony on tour to Spain and Austria, begin a project to present the Ring in concert version with the Japan Philharmonic with a performance of Das Rheingold, and conduct the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and Orchestra Verdi in Milan.  In autumn 2016 he will return to Melbourne to conduct a revival of Opera Australia’s acclaimed 2013 production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen directed by Neil Armfield.  In August 2014 Australia’s Helpmann Awards, recognising artistic excellence throughout Australia’s vibrant performing arts scene, voted Inkinen as the award winner for Best Music Direction for Opera Australia’s Ring Cycle.

Previously Inkinen has conducted at the Finnish National Opera, La Monnaie in Brussels, Staatsoper in Berlin and the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich.  He has conducted Wagner’s Walkure and Das Rheingold in Palermo's Teatro Massimo for which he was awarded Italy’s National Association of Music Critics with the Franco Abbiati Prize for “Best Show” for Das Rheingold. 

Inkinen has recorded widely for Naxos.  The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s complete cycle of Sibelius Symphonies,  the premiere recording of Rautavaara’s Manhattan Trilogy and a further live Sibelius Cycle recorded with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in Suntory Hall, have been widely acclaimed.   Inkinen has a large number of other recording credits, including Wagner arias and orchestral pieces with Simon O’Neill and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for EMI, which earned a rare double five-star review from BBC Music Magazine, and the Shostakovich Cello Concerto and Britten Cello Symphony with Johannes Moser for Haenssler.

Also an accomplished violinist, Inkinen studied at the Cologne Music Academy with Zakhar Bron, winning various awards and prizes for his solo work, before taking further studies in conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.  He continues to enjoy play-directing and performing chamber music with his regular musical partners.
 

Alexander LAZAREV, Conductor Laureate アレクサンドル・ラザレフ[桂冠指揮者兼芸術顧問]

ⓒAtsushi Yamaguchi

Alexander Lazarev is one of Russia's foremost conductors. He studied with Leo Ginsbourg at the Moscow Conservatory graduating with first class honours. In 1971 he won first prize in the Soviet Union's national competition for conductors, and the following year went on to win first prize and gold medal at the Karajan Competition in Berlin.

From 1987 to 1995 Lazarev was Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Theatre, the first person for over thirty years to hold both positions concurrently. His leadership marked a period of intensive activity with the Bolshoi Opera undertaking an unprecedented programme of prestigious foreign tours including Tokyo (1989), La Scala, Milan (1989), the Edinburgh Festival (1990 and 1991) and the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1991). Several of the Theatre’s most successful productions including Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar, Tchaikovsky’s The Maid of Orleans and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mlada were filmed for video, and the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra made a number of highly acclaimed recordings for Erato including such milestones of the Russian symphonic repertoire as Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2 and Shostakovich Symphony No. 8.

From 1992 to 1995 he was Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and from 1997 to 2005 Principal Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra where his conducting of the complete cycle of Shostakovich symphonies was a high point of his tenure. In recent years he has worked as a regular guest with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, appearing with them in London, Paris and Vienna. Other orchestras he has conducted include the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestre National de France, Oslo Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony, NHK Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Montreal Symphony and London Philharmonic, and he has appeared with opera companies such as the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Arena di Verona, Opéra  Bastille, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Bavarian State Opera and Netherlands Opera.

His repertoire is particularly enterprising in its scope, ranging from the eighteenth century to the avant-garde. In 1978 he founded the Ensemble of Soloists of the Bolshoi Theatre whose most important aim was the programming and wide dissemination of contemporary music by both Soviet and foreign composers.

Alexander Lazarev is a prolific recording artist, appearing on such labels as Erato, Melodiya, Virgin Classics, Sony Classical, Hyperion, BMG, BIS and Linn Records. Now Conductor Laureate, he was Principal Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra from 2008 to 2016. His work with the orchestra is extensively represented on Octavia Records; following the success of their complete cycles of the symphonies of Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich, they are now embarking on a Glazunov series.
 

KOBAYASHI Ken-ichiro, Honorary Conductor Laureate 小林研一郎[桂冠名誉指揮者]

ⓒToshiyuki Urano

Ken-ichiro KOBAYASHI studied composition and conducting at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. In 1974, he received both the first prize and the special award at the first International Conductor’s Competition of Hungarian Television in Budapest. Presently KOBAYASHI holds positions at the Arnhem Phil. (Permanent Conductor), the Hungarian National Phil. (Conductor Laureate), the Nagoya Phil. (Conductor Laureate), MATAV Hungarian Symphony Orchestra (Principal Guest Conductor), and the Kyushu Symphony (Principal Guest Conductor). He is also a professor at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and a guest professor at the Tokyo College of Music.

KOBAYASHI received the Liszt Memorial Decoration, the Hungarian Order of Culture and the “Middle Cross with the Star” decoration from the Hungarian government. KOBAYASHI has released numerous recordings from Canyon Classics and Octavia Records. KOBAYASHI received a commission to compose a work in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Holland and Japan in 2000. Its first performance in Amsterdam with the Netherlands Phil. in the fall of 1999 to a sell-out audience received a standing ovation. In May 2002, he conducted the very successful opening concert of the Prague Spring Festival. He conducted the complete “Ma Vlast” (My Homeland).
 

YAMADA Kazuki, Permanent Conductor 山田和樹[正指揮者]

ⓒAtsushi Yamaguchi

Kazuki Yamada is Principal Conductor and Artistic Director Designate of Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, a post that begins in the 2016/2017 season.  He additionally holds the title of Principal Guest Conductor of Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, since his sensational debut with the orchestra in 2010, which was one of his first appearances in Europe.  In Japan, he holds further titles of Permanent Conductor of Japan Philharmonic, Music Partner with Sendai Philharmonic, and Music Director of Yokohama Sinfonietta, an ensemble he founded whilst still a student.  

Yamada appears regularly as a guest with such orchestras as Orchestre de Paris, Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Utah Symphony and Tonkünstler-Orchester at the Vienna Musikverein.  Soloists with whom he is working include Emmanuel Ax, Boris Berezovsky, Håkan Hardenberger, Nobuko Imai, Daishin Kashimoto, Alexander Kniazev, Xavier de Maistre, Steven Osborne, Vadim Repin, Baiba Skride, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Simon Trpčeski and Frank Peter Zimmermann.

In the 2015/16 season, Kazuki Yamada returns to the Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Tonkünstler-Orchester, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, NHK Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony, whom he conducts on tour in Japan in spring 2016.  Debuts include Staatskapelle Dresden, Bergen Philharmonic, West Australian Symphony Orchestra and his debut in a European opera house, at Grand Théâtre de Genève.  He continues his cycle of Mahler symphonies with Japan Philharmonic.

He is active in the field of opera, and will be performing ‘La Traviata’, ‘Carmen’ and ‘Rusalka’ in Japan in coming seasons.  He is strongly supported by Seiji Ozawa and in August 2012 he conducted a semi-staged production of Honegger’s ‘Jeanne d´arc’, with Saito-Kinen Orchestra.  The ‘Jeanne d’Arc’ project was also a huge hit in spring 2015 in Côme de Bellescize’s staged version at the new Philharmonie hall in Paris, with Orchestre de Paris. The character of Joan of Arc was performed by the French actress Marion Cotillard and the production received high critical praise. 

Yamada and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande are releasing a series of CDs inspired by dance, on the Pentatone label. This continues in the current season with a recording of French ballet works, and another of works by Manuel de Falla.  Furthermore, a disc of works by Glazunov, Kalinnikov and Khatchaturian with Czech Philharmonic was released in 2014. Yamada is also Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus’s Music Director and the chorus has released ten CDs on Fontec.

Now resident in Berlin, Yamada was born in Kanagawa, Japan, in 1979. In 2009 he was the winner of the 51st Besancon International Competition for young conductors. 
 

NISHIMOTO Tomomi, Music Partner 西本智実[ミュージック・パートナー]

ⓒHideki Shiozawa

Tomomi Nishimoto is the current Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra. She concurrently serves as the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Royal Chamber Orchestra, Music Partner with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, and Visiting Professor at Osaka College of Music. Nishimoto has received an honorary doctorate degree from Matsumoto Dental University, and she also serves as the first Honorary Ambassador for the city of Hirado in Nagasaki Prefecture and as the first International Cultural Ambassador for Osaka.

After graduating from Osaka College of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Composition, she went abroad to study Opera and Symphony Conducting at the Saint Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia. During this time, she received many awards, including the Agency for Cultural Affair's Arts Internship scholarship and the Idemitsu Music Award. She then went on to serve as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor for the Russian Symphony Orchestra of the Tchaikovsky Foundation (2004-2007), the Principal Guest Conductor for the St. Petersburg Mussorgsky State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre (2004-2006), the Principal Guest Conductor of the State Symphony Orchestra of Russia (2010-2011), and more. Her exceptional career in the area as a foreigner also includes guest appearances at the Moscow City Symphony - Russian Philharmonic and more.

Nishimoto has been invited to perform at numerous music festivals, including Split Summer Festival, Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Prague Proms, and Vilnius Music Festival. Her activities in Europe began with a successful performance at a regular concert with the Bruckner Orchestra Linz at the Brucknerhaus in Linz, which was followed by a highly-praised performance with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra in Monaco. Since then, her European activities have expanded through successful performances such as conducting the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra's season opening concert, the Romanian State Philharmonic Orchestra (George Enescu), the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, the Lithuanian National Philharmonic, the British Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Belarus, and more. In 2010, she conducted the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall to great success and has been regularly invited to the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra in the United States beginning with their 2011 season. In 2014, she also began expanding the scope her activities to South American countriesincluding Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador. Nishimoto is also highly regarded as an opera conductor and has conducted successful performances with the Hungarian State Opera House, the Prague State Opera, and the Odessa National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet.

In 2013, Nishimoto was invited to the Vatican Music Festival, where she received enthusiastic praise. She led a restoration performance at the Cardinal's Mass of a Gregorian hymn that served as the origin of "Oratio," the chant and prayers of the Japanese Kakure Kirishitan (secret Christians). It was the first time in roughly 455 years that the hymn had been performed.

The following year, she received the Honor of Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra in Vatican for her artistic talent and musical contributions, making Nishimoto the youngest recipient ever of the honor. Since then, Nishimoto has been invited to the Festival on a yearly basis.

Nishimoto has also conducted historical concerts such as the concert commemorating the 1300-year anniversary of Nara Heijo-kyo Capital and 1200-year anniversary of Mount Koyasan, the opening concert for L'aquila Concert Hall, the concert commemorating the 120th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Brazil, and more.

Within Japan, Nishimoto has acted as guest conductor with major orchestras. She has also been involved in experimental musical activities, such as bringing together traditional aspects of Japanese culture and opera, as well as holding restoration performances of long lost Min'yō tunes. In recent years, she has performed a mix of opera and traditional Japanese theatre with a staging of Madame Butterfly (at Kyoto Minamiza & Shinbashi Enbujo) that takes advantage of the unique aspects of the Kabuki stage, spreading Japanese culture across the world in the process.

Nishimoto's personal message appears in a Japanese 9th grade math textbook published by Nippon Bunkyou Shuppan Co., Ltd. from the years 2012-2015. She was also selected by "Newsweek JAPAN" as one of the "100 World's Most Respected Japanese People" in 2004, and she appeared on the Japanese Government's TV commercials promoting Japan for the G7 summit in Elmau in 2015 and Ise-Shima in 2016, as well as in the official Japanese Government English PR Magazine "We Are Tomodachi Summer Edition" as a Japanese national active on a global basis.

Aside from music, Nishimoto was selected in 2007 as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum,which holds its annual meeting in Davos. In 2012, she completed the Harvard Kennedy School's Executive Education Program in public leadership as a fully funded fellow.

Nishimoto continues to garner worldwide reputation through her global tours and activities. 

Neeme JÄRVI, Guest Chief Conductor

James LOUGHRAN, Honorary Conductor

LUKÁCS Ervin, Honorary Conductor