Japan Philharmonic Orchestra

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The Japan Philharmonic Orchestra (日本フィルハーモニー交響楽団?, Nihon Firuhāmonī Kōkyō Gakudan) is an orchestra based in Tokyo, Japan.


The Japan Philharmonic Orchestra was founded on June 22, 1956, as the exclusive subsidiary orchestra under the Nippon Cultural Broadcasting. Akeo Watanabe served the first Chief (Resident) conductor of the orchestra. In 1958, Jean Fournet conducted "Pelléas et Mélisande" of Debussy, it was the premiere performance in Japan.

Japan Philharmonic made a subsidiary contract with Fuji Television in 1959. Between 1961 and 1989, regular concerts were held in Tokyo Bunka Kaikan hall, in Tokyo. Akeo Watanabe completed his recordings of Jean Sibelius symphonies in 1962, which were released from Nippon Columbia Company (now Columbia Music Entertainment). Charles Munch conducted the symphony No. 9 of Ludwig Van Beethoven in 1962. Japan Philharmonic undertook its first overseas tour of the United States and Canada in 1963. Since then the orchestra has toured Europe several times and Hawaii.

In March 1972, Nippon Cultural Broadcasting and Fuji Television subsidiary contracts broke away, the orchestra foundation was dissolved. Seiji Ozawa was the principal conductor and the music adviser at the time. One-third of those original members left, then formed the New Japan Philharmonic in 1972 led by Seiji Ozawa and Naozumi Yamamoto (conductor and secretary-general).

Japan Philharmonic Orchestra Association was founded in 1973, newly formed as a self-organized orchestra. Václav Smetáček was appointed as a guest conductor. Japan Philharmonic Orchestra Association chorus was formed end of the year.

Japan Philharmonic Orchestra Association once again became a foundation in 1985, music tour was resumed again.

A friendly relationships between Japan philharmonic and Suginami City begin in July 1994.

Yokohama concert hall was moved and settled in Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall in 1998 for Yokohama venue program.

Suginami Public Hall was re-opened with remodeled in June 2006. Japan Philharmonic and Suginami city announced that the formal friendship agreement was signed. Suginami Public Hall is used for rehearsals and some other orchestral events. Members of orchestra regularly visit schools in Suginami area for educational purpose of music and open concerts. Japan philharmonic administrative office is also located in Suginami.

Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi conducted the Japan phil and the Arnhem Philharmonic joint orchestra at Suntory Hall in March 2007 and March 2009, more than 180 accompanists played with one orchestra.


  • Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi was appointed as the Chief conductor in October 1990, due to death of Akeo Watanabe. Kobayashi was appointed as the Music Director of Japan phil between 2004 and 2007 music seasons.
  • Neeme Järvi made his debut with the Japan phil in June 1995, since September 1995, Järvi was appointed as the guest chief conductor.
  • Valery Gergiev was a guest conductor in November 1996. He conducted the orchestra in Tokyo concerts.
  • Junichi Hirokami was Resident conductor between 1991 and 2000.
  • Ryusuke Numajiri was Resident conductor between 2003 and 2008.
  • Lukács Ervin was appointed as an Honorary conductor in March, 2006.
  • James Loughran was appointed as an Honorary conductor in November 2006, of his excellency in 26 years work with Japan phil.
  • Alexander Lazarev was Chief conductor from September 2008 until August 2011.
  • Jiří Bělohlávek was the guest chief conductor in 1986. He currently holds the position of principal guest conductor.
  • Pietari Inkinen was appointed as the principal guest conductor, he will serve the position from September 2009.

Music Venues[edit]

Tokyo Venue[edit]

Yokohama Venue[edit]

  • Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall

Saitama Venue[edit]

  • Omiya Sonic City

External links[edit]