Our privacy policy was last updated on Friday 24 November 2023View it hereDismiss
Bachtrack logo
What's on
Young artists

Guide to the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo

NHK Symphony Orchestra logo
"The NHKSO decided that it would hold a public poll to choose the work for this celebration of the 2000th subscription concert."

Find NHK Symphony Orchestra events here
« The NHK strings have a wonderfully dark, mahogany sound, evident from the sonorous cellos and double basses and the honeyed violins, split antiphonally, caressing phrases with the utmost care. [...] One of the finest accounts of the Second I’ve heard in concert. »
Mark Pullinger, London, February 2020

The NHK Symphony Orchestra was formed on October 5, 1926 as the New Symphony Orchestra. Shortly thereafter, it invited Joseph Rosenstock from Germany as its Chief Conductor to lay its foundation to become the leading Japanese orchestra under his direction. Its subscription concerts, the main pillar of its performances, began on February 20th, 1927, and they have continued to date without any interruption even during the Second World War. In 1951, it started to receive financial support from Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) and was renamed the NHK Symphony Orchestra. Since then under world renowned conductors such as Herbert von Karajan, Ernest Anserme, Josef Keilberth, Lovro von Matačić, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Lorin Maazel to name but a few, and with the world's most sought-after soloists, it has continued to make outstanding performances which have gone down in history.

In August 2013, it made its first appearance at the Salzburg Festival, and in spring of 2020, it toured nine cities in Europe including Berlin and Vienna, earning high international acclaim for its performances and activities.

Presently the NHK Symphony Orchestra presents about 120 concerts annually across Japan, including 54 subscription concerts, which are broadcast nationwide via NHK television and FM radio and some of which are introduced to the world audience through international broadcast services. As a social contribution, part of its essential activities, the NHK Symphony Orchestra has been engaged in a variety of projects such as a school-visiting program called NHK Music Club for Children, the N-Kyo Hotto Concert designed for the whole family to enjoy, chamber music concerts to sooth and cheer up people in disaster-stricken areas and hospitals, and the NHKSO Academy to foster next generation musicians.

In the 2000th subscription concert to be marked in December 2023, Mahler's Symphonie der Tausend, which was voted for by our fans, will be performed under the baton of Chief Conductor Fabio Luisi.

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