Maestro moves: The one who quit Germany gets job in Japan

Maestro moves: The one who quit Germany gets job in Japan


norman lebrecht

December 16, 2014

Toshiyuki Kamioka, 54, music director in three German cities, gave it all up last month to return home.

Today we know why. He’s about to be named next music director of the New Japan Philharmonic.


Toshiyuki Kamioka


  • sdReader says:

    … the weakest of the seven “major” Tokyo orchestras.


    No. 1 – Tokyo Philharmonic
    No. 2 – Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra
    No. 3 – Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra
    No. 4 – NHK Symphony Orchestra

    No. 5 – Japan Philharmonic
    No. 6 – Tokyo Symphony Orchestra
    No. 7 – New Japan Philharmonic

    Between Nos. 4 and 5, in terms of quality, come the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, the Nagoya Philharmonic and the Osaka Philharmonic, making up Japan’s TOP TEN.


    Notice from the links how they each associate with multiple foreign and Japanese conductors, giving them various titles, so that the position of “principle conductor” (UK) or “music director” (US) really has no significance.

    Also notice the presence of retired or dead conductors, for prestige. Example: Mstislav Rostropovich is still listed as “friend of Seiji” on the NJP roster. No payments needed!

    • MWnyc says:

      Not to forget the Bach Collegium Japan, which, in its repertoire, plays as well as any of them – and has wider international renown than any of them.

  • Nick says:

    I cannot comment on the orchestra’s ranking but in terms of prestige in Japan it is still very high. It was created for and is still regarded as “Ozawa’s orchestra”. Because of Ozawa it received a great deal of cash from sponsors to enable him to present, for example, semi-staged operas with stellar casts. Whether those sponsorships continues, I have no idea.

    Let’s also be clear that Rostropovich is not listed as a living conductor! Gerhard Bosse is also on that list and his bio, too, makes it perfectly clear he passed away 2 years ago. The list is purely the names of major conductors throughout the orchestra’s history.

    • MWnyc says:

      I could be wrong, but I would suppose that in Japan, removing the name of Rostropovich from the roster would be considered an insult to the honored dead.

      • Nick says:

        Not sure of the reason, but listing past conductors – especially those with titled positions – is pretty common in many orchestras worldwide. In Japan, the NHK website lists all, whereas that of the Tokyo Philharmonic seems to list every conductor it has ever played under – along with photos!