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Guide to the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo

« In tone, tuning and dexterity the string band is an outstanding group, and the balance achieved by their Chief Conductor Paavo Järvi across the various intricate lines ensured that Takemitsu’s rich harmony never became clotted. »
Roy Westbrook, March 2017
Paavo Järvi © Kaupo Kikkas
PREVIEW 2018-19

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.
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NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo; Paavo Järvi

TokyoAlso sprach Zarathustra

Strauss R., Berlioz, Janáček
NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo; Jakub Hrůša; Véronique Gens

TokyoPelleas und Melisande

Hirao, Yashiro, Schoenberg
NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo; Kazuki Yamada; Hisako Kawamura

TokyoVadim Gluzman

Shostakovich, Weinberg
NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo; Tatsuya Shimono; Vadim Gluzman
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Riveting Schumann and Schubert in Tokyo

Paavo Järvi © Kaupo Kikkas
Paarvo Järvi and the NHK Symphony give a riveting account of Schumann and Schubert.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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 Josef 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. 2016, NHK Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 90th anniversary.
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. 
Conductors who are closely associated with the NHK Symphony Orchestra include Paavo Järvi (Chief Conductor), Charles Dutoit (Music Director Emeritus), Vladimir Ashkenazy (Conductor Laureate), Herbert Blomstedt (Honorary Conductor), André Previn (Honorary Guest Conductor), Yuzo Toyama (Permanent Conductor), and Tadaaki Otaka (Permanent Conductor).