NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo


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The 2018/19 Season Overview

For the 2018/19 season, in addition to having Chief Conductor Paavo Järvi on our podium, the NHK Symphony Orchestra will welcome legendary maestros including Honorary Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Edo de Waart, and Neeme Järvi, conductors who frequently appear with the orchestra and whose careers have been expanding worldwide such as Gianandrea Noseda, Alexander Vedernikov, Tugan Sokhiev and Stéphane Denève, and leading Japanese conductors including Junichi Hirokami, Tatsuya Shimono and Kazuki Yamada. In addition, Thomas Hengelbrock and Jakub Hrůša will make their first appearances with the orchestra. This wonderfully diversified lineup is guaranteed to delight our audiences.


Paavo Järvi will open the season with a symphony by Mahler, whose works Maestro Järvi has continuously taken up, a German repertoire including works of the classical period that he has rarely performed with the NHK Symphony Orhestra including those of Schubert and Haydn, along with a symphony of his favorite composer Sibelius. He will work with master hornist Radek Baborák for the first time in three years, and the Estonian National Male Choir that comes from Maestro Järvi’s native country, which will be making its longawaited first appearance with the orchestra.


Herbert Blomstedt will appear in October, conducting three substantial programs consisting of great symphonies of the Romantic period composers Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

November is certain to exhilarate the audiences, as Junichi Hirokami will conduct works by 20th Century American composers, while Gianandrea Noseda will feature a 20th Century Russian masterpiece as the centerpiece of his programs, working with world famous young talents Narek Hakhnazaryan (cello) and Alice Sara Ott (piano).


Three different types of conductors will delight the audiences with their seasonal repertoires in December. Alexander Vedernikov will present works to convey Russian ambience, including Glazunov’s symphony. He will perform what is surely to be a much-anticipated concerto with Andrei Korobeinikov, winner of the International Piano Competition Alexander Scriabin. Vladimir Fedoseyev will conduct The Nutcracker ballet, a Christmas classic, while Thomas Hengelbrock will present an all-Bach program including Magnificat with the four Christmas interpolations.


In January, Tugan Sokhiev, who returns to our podium almost every year, will conduct mostly Russian and French works, which we are sure the audience will find attractive. Xavier de Maistre will perform Glière’s Harp Concerto, a work which is rarely played. Stéphane Denève who is gaining a global reputation will take up works of his favorite composers Roussel and Respighi, and a concerto of Saint-Saëns with Gautier Capuçon, a cellist with whom he often works.


Paavo Järvi returns in February to present a symphony of Hans Rott, a largely unknown masterpiece from the late Romantic era, and Russian works of the 20th Century. He will welcome up-and-coming violinist Alena Baeva and Khatia Buniatishvili, a pianist he particularly enjoys working with.


Jakub Hrůša, who will appear in April, has chosen a work featuring brass instruments, and a work with his soloist Véronique Gens, who has an established reputation for French vocal works. She will make her debut with the NHK Symphony Orchestra. Japanese maestros Tatsuya Shimono and Kazuki Yamada have both chosen to work with soloists with whom they have built trusting relationships – Maestro Shimono with Vadim Gluzman (violin) and Maestro Yamada with Hisako Kawamura (piano).


In May Edo de Waart and Neeme Järvi will share the podium. Maestro de Waart will conduct a program combining the classical and modern periods, and will work with Ronald Brautigam, known for his performances on fortepiano, to present Beethoven’s Emperor on modern piano in the first half of the program. In the second half of the program, he will present John Adams’ Harmonielehre, whose world premiere he also performed. Maestro Neeme Järvi will conduct four symphonies including one by Tubin, a composer of his native Estonia.


In June, Paavo Järvi will conclude the season by conducting Turangalîla-Symphonie as well as symphonies by Nielsen and Bruckner, works which he holds dear to his heart. He will collaborate with splendid soloists Matthias Goerne (baritone) and Gil Shaham (violin).