Our privacy policy was last updated on Friday 31 January 2020View it hereDismiss
Sign in
Bachtrack logo
Home
What's on
Reviews
Articles
Video
Site
EventsReviewsArticlesVideo

Guide to the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo

Järvi and the NHK unveil their 2020/21 season
The new season opens with an epic. At around 100 minutes Mahler's Third Symphony is the longest in the standard repertoire. It encompampasses, literally, the entire world with movement titles like "What the Flowers in the Meadow Tell me..." There couldn't be a grander way for Järvi to start the season.
Find NHK Symphony Orchestra events here

“Järvi led a passionate, ebullient reading. 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. Järvi’s conducting is totally non-flashy, never drawing attention to himself. [...] One of the finest accounts of the Second I’ve heard in concert. ”

Mark Pullinger, London, February 2020

Biography

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 major cities including Berlin and Vienna in 2017 and 2020.

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).