Japan’s Kyoto Symphony Orchestra Announces Next Music Director

(Photo credit: Felix Broede)

Japanese conductor Nodoka Okisawa will join The city of Kyoto Symphony Orchestra (KSO) as the 14th conductor for an initial three-year term. She will be the first woman to assume this role since the creation of the orchestra in 1956.

“In October last year, I led the KSO for the first time,” Okisawa said. in a video posted on Facebook. “The performance at that time was very emotional, so I was very happy to return to Kyoto. [and take on the role].”

She will conduct the KSO’s subscription, education and family concerts. She succeeds Junichi Hirokami who served a 14-year term on renewed contracts from 2008 to March 2022.

Okisawa is the winner of the famous Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors 2019, where she also received the Grand Prize, the Orchestra Prize and the Audience Prize. In 2018, she won the Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting — one of the most important international orchestral conducting competitions.

From 2020 to 2022, she was Berlin Philharmoniker Karajan Academy scholarship student and assistant chef of Kirill Petrenko. In March 2022, she conducted a Solidarity Concert for Ukraine at the Berlin Philharmoniker, and in May she took part in the Karajan Academy’s 50th anniversary performance with Petrenko.

After his debut with Munich Symphony Orchestra in 2021, Okisawa returns this season as artist-in-residence. In 2022 and 2023 she will make her debuts with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Wales National Orchestra, the MDR-Sinfonieorchester Leipzig and the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich. Additionally, she performs regularly with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.

She participated in masterclasses organized by Neeme Jarvi, Paavo Jarviand Kurt Masurand in 2019 and 2020 she was a student in the direction of Riccardo Muti“The Italian Opera Academy in Tokyo”.

Okisawa’s upcoming projects include an appearance at Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival 2022, conducting a production of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”, and will make his debut with the Saito Kinen Orchestra.

Born in 1987 and currently based in Berlin, Okisawa studied piano, cello and oboe from an early age. Graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts and Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlinhis mentors have included Ken Takaseki, Tadaaki Otaka, Christian Ewald and Hans Dieter Baum.

RICHARD STRAUSS | DON JUAN OP. 20 | NODOKA OKISAWA | TOKYO INTERNATIONAL MUSIC COMPETITION FOR DIRECTING | 2018

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