Conductor

Tadaaki Otaka

Music Director, Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra
Permanent Conductor, NHK Symphony
Conductor Laureate, BBC National Orchestra of Wales

© Martin Richardson

Introduction

Japanese Maestro Tadaaki Otaka has been Music Director of Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra since April 2018. He also holds the titles of Permanent Conductor of the NHK Symphony, Conductor Laureate of BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Honorary Music Director of Sapporo Symphony following a distinguished tenure as their Music Director, Conductor Laureate of Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Honorary Guest Conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra and Honorary Conductor Laureate of Kioi Hall Chamber Orchestra Tokyo.

Plans for the 2018/19 season include opening the BBC National Orchestra of Wales’ season in Cardiff, featuring Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel with Sir Thomas Allen, and visits to the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia and Taipei Symphony Orchestra. He also conducts Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra for the Piano Festival of Flagey and serves on the juries of the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London and the 18th Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting. Tadaaki continues to work extensively in his native Japan with the country’s leading orchestras and is highly regarded as a teacher of young conductors.


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Discography

 
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    06 Jun 17 Elgar’s Froissart & John Lill plays Tchaikovsky Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Royal Festival Hall

    “Otaka’s grasp of Elgar is total – which is saying something, for those who remember his fine accounts of the A-flat Symphony in particular – and his direction of Froissart (not one of Elgar’s flawless masterpieces) so captured the essence of this work that its qualities were clearly and cleverly brought out. Indeed, this was a performance of no little stature in which architecture and atmosphere were perfectly equated. In Otaka’s reading one remained astonished at the composer’s masterful command of the orchestra and of his control of a relatively lengthy time span – for, be it remembered, this was the entirely self-taught Elgar’s first orchestral work.”

    Robert Matthew-Walker, Classical Source, 06 June 2017

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    10 Nov 16 Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé BBC National Orchestra of Wales
    St David's Hall, Cardiff

    ★★★★

    “Majesty and beauty in Daphnis et Chloé from Tadaaki Otaka and BBC NOW”

    “Tadaaki Otaka has a long working relationship with the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, where he is now Conductor Laureate, and his return visits to Cardiff are always warmly welcomed. He began this programme with a lush, big-band account of Mozart’s Idomeneo overture, with a larger component of strings than is fashionable these days, and full, resonant vibrato all round.”

    Simon Rees, Bachtrack, 11 November 2016

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    06 Aug 15 Walton at the BBC Proms BBC National Orchestra of Wales
    Royal Albert Hall

    ★★★★

    “The symphony is often cited as an example of how Walton’s music lost its freshness in the 1950s. However, it came over vividly in Otaka’s superbly played performance, which was less svelte and more irascible than some, with a real snap to the rhythms in the opening movement and plenty of weight behind the variations of the final passacaglia.”

    Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 06 August 2015

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    06 May 15 Walton: Belshazzar's Feast Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Royal Festival Hall

    “I have heard both Walton himself and Malcolm Sargent give stunningly impressive live accounts of this thrilling and still completely unique masterpiece, but this – to my astonished delight – was right up there with them…. A great concert and a fine tribute to the power and depth of British Music”

    Robert Matthew-Walker, Classical Source, 06 May 2015

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    31 Jan 15 Takemitsu, Miyoshi Juilliard Orchestra
    Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Juilliard School

    “….the Juilliard Orchestra played with exquisite attention to nuance under the direction of Tadaaki Otaka…. Mr. Otaka excelled at conjuring up billowing surges of great plasticity and vaporous pianissimos, as in Mr. Takemitsu’s “Twill by Twilight,” which begins with an upward curling motif that drifts, planes and seemingly evaporates into nothing. There was a wonderful transparency to parts of Mr. Miyoshi’s “Noesis” where the borders between individual sounds seemed to grew porous.”

    Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times, 01 February 2015 

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    21 Jul 14 BBC National Orchestra of Wales
    St David's Hall, Cardiff

    “One sense a mutual respect and fondness which are reflected in performance. This concert was no exception as so often Otaka drew playing of the highest order from the orchestra”

    Glyn Pursglove, Seen and Heard, April 2013

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    11 May 14 Beethoven, Brahms BBC National Orchestra of Wales
    St David's Hall, Cardiff

    ★★★★

    “The performance was a superb confirmation of Otaka’s status as an interpretation of symphonic music, extending beyond Rachmaninov as far as Takemitsu.”

    Simon Rees, Bachtrack, 12 May 2014

    ★★★★★

    “Lill loves playing at St David’s Hall and the audience adores hearing him play. He was returning to Cardiff as part of his 70th birthday tour with another firm favourite at the hall, Tadaaki Otaka, who was conducting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. It was a match made in heaven as the two major figures in classical music combined to make music of the highest order.”

    “Otaka drew from the orchestra something special. They obviously have deep respect and affection for him, as does the Cardiff audience.”

    Peter Collins, Wales Online, 13 May 2014

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    01 Aug 12 BBC Proms 2012 BBC National Orchestra of Wales
    Royal Albert Hall

    “…performed with finesse and intensity by the BBCNOW under Tadaaki Otaka, with the BBC Symphony Chorus and National Chorus of Wales creating an impressively coordinated 250-strong choir”
    Guy Dammann, The Guardian, August 2012