Sapporo Symphony Orchestra

SSO Information


Tadaaki Otaka C.B.E.
Music Director

Tadaaki Otaka C.B.E. (C) Masahide Sato

Music Director --- Sapporo Symphony Orchestra

Permanent Conductor --- NHK Symphony Orchestra
Principal Guest Conductor --- Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Honorary Conductor Laureate --- Kioi Symphonietta Tokyo
Honorary Guest Conductor --- Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Laureate --- BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Conductor Laureate --- Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra

Tadaaki Otaka was born in 1947 in Kamakura, Japan. He studied conducting at Toho Gakuen School of Music under Hideo Saito, who also taught Seiji Ozawa and Hiroshi Wakasugi, and also studied composition, theory and French Horn.  He subsequently studied in Vienna with Professor Hans Swarowsky and Spannagel.

As one of Japan's leading conductors, his wide-ranged activities include concert, opera, radio and television, as well as premieres of works by Toru Takemitsu, Teizo Matsumura and Akira Miyoshi.  He made his debut in 1971 with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and served Permanent Conductor of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra from 1974 to 1991.  From 1981 to 1986, he was Resident Conductor of the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, and was Principal Conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra from 1992 to 1998. In 1987, he became Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales with his Prom debut the following year.  His work with the orchestra was praised by the critics "In his eight years with the orchestra, Otaka had worked wonders in Wales." (London Sunday Times)   His appearance in UK and oversea include BBC National Orchestra of Wales' tours to European countries, Russia, and the Orchestra's first-ever Japan and North America visits.

He was appointed the first Music Adviser and Principal Conductor of the Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo, and led them on their most successful first overseas tour of Europe in autumn 2000.  Furthermore, he assumed Principal Conductor of the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra in 1998, and traveled on their UK Debut 7-concert Tour in October/November 2001 as the major event of the 'Japan 2001.'  He also led their successful tour in Korea in 2005.

In addition to visiting major Japanese orchestras, he was invited as a guest conductor to world-wide orchestras include London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. His recording with BBC National Orchestra of Wales is much praised that labeled with Nimbus, BIS, Chandos and Camerata Tokyo.

He received the Suntory Music Award in 1991, given each year to the most impressive Japanese ensemble or individual musician. In 1993, the Welsh College of Music and Drama conferred an Honorary Fellowship on Tadaaki Otaka, and he also holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Wales.  In 1997, he was awarded the CBE, in recognition of his outstanding contribution over many years to British musical life.  He has also received the Elgar Medal in 1999 as the first-ever Japanese for his continuous efforts at spreading the works by Elgar outside the UK.

He is the present Music Director of Sapporo Symphony Orchestra (2004.5~), Permanent Conductor of NHK Symphony Orchestra (2010.1~), Principal Guest Conductor of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (2010.1~), Conductor Laureate of BBC National Orchestra of Wales (1996.1~), Conductor Laureate of Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra (1991.4~), Honorary Guest Conductor of Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra (1998.4~), and Honorary Conductor Laureate of Kioi Symphonietta Tokyo (2003.9~). He has been the professor of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and the part-time visiting professor of Soai University. Since September 2009, he has been Artistic Director(Opera) of New National Theater, Tokyo.

Updated April 2011

Radomil ELIŠKA
Principal Guest Conductor

Radomil ELIŠKA (C) Masahide Sato

Radomil Eliška was born in 1931.  He graduated from the Janáček academy of Arts in Brno in the class of Professoer Břetislav Bakala, a pupil and also an assistant of Czech composer, Leoš Janáček.  He was the chief-conductor of Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra from 1969 to 1990, which had reached remarkable standard of the interpretation under his baton.  With this orchestra he had realized a number of successful concert-tours abroad.  He has appeared with all leading Czechoslovak symphony orchestras as a guest conductor.  He has been invited for guest performances in the Soviet Union, Poland, the Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, Yugoslavia among many others.  These successful performances especially belong to works by Dvořák, Janáček, and Bohuslav Martinů from the world repertoire works by Gustav Mahler and by the composers of the 20th century.  The professional review appreciated especially his spontaneous musicality and intensity of his expression. For Czechoslovak gramophone companies such as Supraphon and Panton, he recorded number of gramophone records, starting with all symphonies No.5 and 6 by Antonîn Dvořák as well as the contemporary Czech music, for Czechoslovak Radio in Prague and Pilsen.  He also realized numbers of radio recordings.  His reputation had not been reached to the Western nations including Japan since his appearance was limited behind the Iron Curtain during the 20th century.  His debut performance in Japan was in 2004.  In December 2006 his first performance with the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra gained great applause and was reviewed with much enthusiasm by critics all over Japan.  He was appointed the principal guest conductor of the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra in April 2008.  He was Professor of Prague Academy of Arts, the Institute of Conducting.  He was President of the Dvořák Association in Czech from 2001 to 2013

Updated September 2013