City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra appoints Kazuki Yamada as chief conductor
14 September 2021, 12:00
Japanese conductor Kazuki Yamada will become the first non-European to lead the CBSO.
The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) has announced that Japanese maestro Kazuki Yamada will be its new chief conductor, taking the baton from Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla who has led the orchestra since 2016.
Yamada, who has been the CBSO’s principal guest conductor since October 2018, will also become the orchestra’s artistic advisor, assuming both roles from 1 April 2023. Gražinytė-Tyla will step down as music director at the end of the 2021-22 season.
Born in Japan, Yamada will become the first non-European to lead the CBSO.
“I first worked with the CBSO in 2012 and immediately felt a very sincere connection with the players,” Yamada says. “This connection has really grown and developed over the last 9 years; our tour together to Japan in 2016 was one of the highlights of my career. After this the relationship was even deeper.
“I am so happy, thrilled and above all honoured to be continuing our journey together as the Orchestra’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor.”
Known for his trademark physicality and energy, Yamada is in international demand as a guest conductor, having led with Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Philharmonia Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra Washington.
The star maestro is also principal conductor and artistic director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, permanent conductor of the Japan Philharmonic, and principal guest conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Japan.
Yamada made his debut with the CBSO, Classic FM’s Orchestra in the Midlands, in 2012.
Over the course of three years as principal guest conductor, Yamada forged strong connections with the musicians, and as chief conductor, he will continue the orchestra’s tradition of performing the widest range of orchestral and choral music.
CBSO leader Eugene Tzikindelean says: “I have rarely met a musician that is more faithful to the score or as respectful to the orchestra, whilst also being a brilliant and virtuosic maestro. I honestly don’t know what I love most about playing with him: his impeccable technique, his exquisite taste in music, style, or the depth of his artistic thoughts. I’m really looking forward to many years of making music together.”
Stephen Maddock, CBSO’s chief executive, adds: “From his very first concerts with us, there was an immediate rapport between Kazuki and our musicians, and enormous respect for his musicianship and craft. Over time that has only deepened, and I know that those who have already seen Kazuki conduct the orchestra will be as thrilled as we are by this news.
“His energy, dynamism and precision make for electrifying concerts and I have no doubt that audiences in Birmingham and beyond will very quickly come to await his next performances as eagerly as our musicians already do, as we embark on new musical adventures together.”
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