Next big leap for Kahchun Wong

Next big leap for Kahchun Wong


norman lebrecht

August 26, 2021

The Singaporean music director of the Nuremburg Symphony has landed a principal guest title with the Japan Philharmonic.

Wong, 34, is a winner of the Mahler Conducting Competition.

He says: ‘I am still quite overwhelmed by this beautiful piece of news.

Japan is one of the meccas of Western classical music in the world. World-class icons include the Suzuki method, Yamaha and Suntory Hall. Every Sunday morning, there is a classical music programme for children. In fact, the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra made the world’s first stereo recording with their founding Chief Conductor Akeo Watanabe back in 1962 with a full Sibelius symphony cycle.
Up to date, they have already commissioned 42 works from composers such as Toru Takemitsu, Yasushi Akutagawa and Toshio Hosokawa. They are committed to championing their composers. I like that very much. As an Asian myself, I look forward to my upcoming research on these musical works and to include them in my future performances.
In addition, in the 10 years following the devastating Tohoku Earthquake of 2011, the orchestra has held 263 performances and musical workshops in the affected areas of the Northeast region to give strength on a human-to-human level, and to help with reconstruction efforts. In a very shokunin way, their projects demonstrate genuine dedication and refinement of the human spirit. It moves me immensely. I have been working with Child at Street 11 over the past few years for my Project Infinitude, and I know first-hand how challenging it is to commit oneself to uplifting the human spirit through music. I feel so proud to be connected with the Japan Philharmonic.’


  • Ernest says:

    Bravo Maestro!

  • Durer says:

    Japan Philharmonic, excellent orchestra! Congrats and Ka Ching! for Kahchun.

  • Do all Asians look the same? says:

    Wrong Wong Lebrecht

  • Kman says:

    You mean the guy that did this at 2:14 of this clip (among many other antics jam packed in those 4 minutes)?

    I’m sure he’s a wonderful musician, but the showmanship is mind blowing.

    • BRUCEB says:

      Haha, that was cute.

      Overall much more restrained than most conductors I have played that piece for.

      (P.S. It’s amazing how many conductors, when they know the camera is on and/or they’re making an audition tape for another job, suddenly come out with the Bernstein is-he-orgasmic-or-is-he-constipated facial expressions…)

  • anon says:

    The very least you could do is use a photo of Conductor Kahchun Wong, rather than pianist Ka Jeng Wong.

  • Guglhupf says:

    Um, I don’t think the photograph posted is of Kahchun …

  • KaJeng Wong says:

    Congratulations to KahChun Wong! Glad to know that the picture is changed.. I understand that it may be confusing sometimes. Hope KaJeng gets to meet KahChun someday!