Japan’s Kyoto Symphony Orchestra Announces Next Music Director
Nodoka Okisawa has been appointed the orchestra’s first female chief conductor and is contracted from April 2023 through to March 2026
Japanese conductor Nodoka Okisawa will join The City of Kyoto Symphony Orchestra (KSO) as its 14th chief conductor for an initial three-year term. She will be the first woman to take on the role since the orchestra’s founding in 1956.
“In October last year, I conducted the KSO for the first time,” said Okisawa in a video posted to Facebook. “The performance at that time was very moving and so I was very happy to return to Kyoto [and take on the role].”
She will lead KSO’s subscription, education, and family concerts. She succeeds Junichi Hirokami who served a 14-year term on renewed contracts from 2008 until March 2022.
Okisawa is the winner of the renowned Concours international de jeunes chefs d'orchestre de Besançon 2019, where she was additionally awarded the Grand Prix, Orchestra Prize, and Audience Prize. In 2018, she won the Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting — one of the most prominent international conducting competitions.
From 2020 to 2022 she was a Berlin Philharmoniker Karajan Academy scholarship student and assistant conductor to Kirill Petrenko. In March 2022, she conducted a solidarity concert for Ukraine in the Berlin Philharmoniker, and in May, she featured in Karajan Academy’s 50th Anniversary Performance with Petrenko.
Following her debut with the Munich Symphony Orchestra in 2021, Okisawa returns this season as its Artist in Residence. In 2022 and 2023, she will make her debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, BBC Wales National Orchestra, MDR-Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, and Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich. Additionally, she performs regularly with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.
She has participated in masterclasses held by Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, and Kurt Masur, and in 2019 and 2020, she was a conducting student of Riccardo Muti’s “Italian Opera Academy in Tokyo.”
Okisawa’s upcoming projects include appearing at the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival 2022, conducting a production of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” and will make her debut at the Saito Kinen Orchestra.
Born in 1987 and currently based in Berlin, Okisawa studied piano, cello, and oboe from an early age. A graduate of the Tokyo University of the Arts and Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin, her mentors have included Ken Takaseki, Tadaaki Otaka, Christian Ewald, and Hans Dieter Baum.
RICHARD STRAUSS | DON JUAN OP. 20 | NODOKA OKISAWA | TOKYO INTERNATIONAL MUSIC COMPETITION FOR CONDUCTING | 2018