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Guide to the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo

'The rapport between conductor and orchestra was so good that at one point hardly noticeable head movements were enough to keep the action going. Ardent strings and brass that opened the final Allegro vivace gave way to woodwinds heralding a cheerful detour, but a fanfare on trombones, despite being rudely cut short at first, kept up the pressure and brought the movement to a rousing close. Not quite satiated after fifty-five minutes of sheer delight, the audience brought Paavo Järvi back five times with uproarious and uninterrupted ovation.'

Alan Yu, Tokyo, July 2017

Paavo Järvi © Zdeněk Chrapek | Prague Spring

Järvi leads a season full of rich repertoire with the NHK SO

From Beethoven's Fidelio to Britten with Janine Jansen via a seven-city European tour, Tokyo's NHK Symphony Orchestra offers a season rich in delights. 
Paavo Järvi © Kaupo Kikkas

The NHKSO launches its 2018-19 season

From monumental Germanic grandeur to Nordic elements – European Music forms a strong thread in the NHKSO's new season.
Paavo Järvi © Kaupo Kikkas

Paavo Järvi: Musical ambassador

Where is home for Paavi Järvi? The life of an international conductor consists of airports and hotel-hopping and Järvi’s passport is more well-travelled than most. 

TokyoReger, Brahms

Stenhammar, Brahms
NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo; Herbert Blomstedt; Martin Sturfalt


NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo; Herbert Blomstedt; Christina Landshamer; Anna Lucia Richter; Tilman Lichdi; Eijiro Kai

TokyoMessiaen, Bloch, Corelli, Mendelssohn

Messiaen, Bloch, Corelli, Mendelssohn Bartholdy
NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo; Masato Suzuki; Nicolas Altstaedt

TokyoMendelssohn, Glazunov, Berlioz

Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Glasunow, Berlioz
NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo; Diego Matheuz; Nikita Boriso-Glebsky
Neue Kritikenmehr...

Riveting Schumann and Schubert in Tokyo

Paavo Järvi © Kaupo Kikkas
Paarvo Järvi and the NHK Symphony give a riveting account of Schumann and Schubert.

Steinberg brings Bohemia’s woods and fields to Tokyo

© Pinchas Steinberg
Tokyo’s NHK Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Pinchas Steinberg, gives a performance of perhaps the most famous of Bedrich Smetana’s works, a romantic tribute to his motherland, Má vlast.

Mendelssohn in Tokyo: Luisi, Znaider and NHKSO

Nikolai Znaider © Lars Gundersen
Nikolaj Znaider and Fabio Luisi, along with NHKSO Tokyo, re-stated the obvious truth of art music that “it is all about the details.”

NHK Symphony Orchestra's magnificent Mahler Six

Paavo Järvi and the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo © Belinda Lawley
Is the very, very good the enemy of the great? It is hard to fault a performance as fine as this – except perhaps against a benchmark no longer recognised.

The history of the NHK Symphony Orchestra dates back to October 5th, 1926 when a professional orchestra called the New Symphony Orchestra was formed. After being briefly called the Japan Symphony Orchestra, it was renamed the NHK Symphony Orchestra when it began to receive full financial support from Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) in 1951. During those years, the orchestra invited German conductor Joseph Rosenstock as its Chief Conductor, under whose baton the orchestra established the foundation to become Japan’s leading orchestra. Thereafter, the orchestra continually invited many of the world’s most renowned conductors of the time, including Herbert von Karajan, Ernest Ansermet, Joseph Keilberth and Lovro von Matačić, to name but a few, and worked with some of the world’s most celebrated soloists to offer the public innumerable outstanding performances which have become entrenched as part of Japan’s history of classical music. The subscription concerts series, which is the core of its activities, started on February 20th, 1927, and has continued without interruption ever since, even during the Second World War.

In recent years, the orchestra has presented approximately 120 concerts nationwide annually, including 54 subscription concerts which have been relayed to every corner of the country on NHK television and through FM radio broadcasts. The concerts can also be heard in Europe, the United States and Asia through its international broadcast service. It has also won world-wide acclaim for its overseas tours, including its first appearance in the Salzburg Festival in August 2013 and its European tour of 7 major cities including Berlin and Vienna in the spring of 2017.

Conductors who are closely associated with the NHK Symphony Orchestra include Paavo Järvi (Chief Conductor), Charles Dutoit (Music Director Emeritus), Herbert Blomstedt (Honorary Conductor Laureate), Vladimir Ashkenazy (Conductor Laureate), Yuzo Toyama (Permanent Conductor) and Tadaaki Otaka (Permanent Conductor).