Sapporo Symphony Orchestra

SSO Information


Matthias Bamert
Chief Conductor

Matthias Bamert

The Swiss conductor Matthias Bamert studied music in Darmstadt and Paris with Pierre Boulez and Stockhausen. He was principal oboist with the Salzburg Mozart Orchestra between 1965 to 1969, then switched to conducting.

Matthias Bamert's distinguished career began in North America as an apprentice to George Szell, later as Assistant Conductor to Leopold Stokowski and Resident Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra under Lorin Maazel. He was Music Director of the Swiss Radio Orchestra (1977-1983), then began making a wider reputation across Europe.

From 1985 to 1990, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Scottish National Orchestra and Director of the Glasgow contemporary music festival Musica Nova, and premiered many works by Takemitsu, Casken, Macmillan and Rihm. He became famous for his creative programming as Director of the Lucerne Festival (1992-1998).

Music Director of the London Mozart Players for seven years (1993-2000), Matthias Bamert masterminded a hugely successful series of recordings of works by "Contemporaries of Mozart". As part of their 50th Anniversary celebrations in 1999, he conducted the LMP at the BBC Proms and the Lucerne Festival.

Matthias Bamert has also served as Principal Guest Conductor of New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (2000-2005), Associate Guest Conductor of Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (2003-2008), Principal Conductor of West Australian Symphony (2003-2007) and Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (2005-2008). In 2017, he has been appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra. From April 2018 he holds a position of Chief Conductor of Sapporo Symphony Orchestra.

Matthias Bamert has appeared with many of the great orchestras of the world, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Philharmonia Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Symphoniker, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, MDR Sinfonieorchester, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, etc. In Japan, he has conducted NHK Symphony Orchestra, Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, and Gunma Symphony Orchestra.

A prolific recording artist, Matthias Bamert has made over 80 CDs, many of which have won international prizes. His output includes 24 CDs of music by Mozart's contemporaries with the London Mozart Players, the complete symphonies of Parry and five CDs of works by Frank Martin with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the symphonies of Roberto Gerhard with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Dutch repertoire with the Residentie Orchestra and the Stokowski transcriptions as well as works by Korngold and Dohnanyi with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

Tadaaki OTAKA C.B.E.
Honorary Music Director

Tadaaki OTAKA C.B.E. (C) Masahide Sato
† •Honorary Music Director --- Sapporo Symphony Orchestra
•Permanent Conductor --- NHK Symphony Orchestra
•Conductor Laureate --- BBC National Orchestra of Wales
•Conductor Laureate --- Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra
•Honorary Guest Conductor --- Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra
•Honorary Conductor Laureate --- Kioi Hall Chamber Orchestra
•Music Adviser and Designated Music Director --- Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra

Tadaaki Otaka was born in 1947 in Kamakura, Japan. He studied at Toho Gakuen School of Music under the famous professor Hideo Saito, who taught such distinguished conductors as Seiji Ozawa and Hiroshi Wakasugi, before continuing his studies in Vienna with Professor Hans Swarowsky and Professor Spannagel.
One of Japan's leading conductors, Mr Otaka made his professional broadcasting debut in 1971 with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and for 20 years served as Permanent Conductor of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he toured extensively in Asia and Europe, being made the orchestra's Conductor Laureate in 1991. In September 2012, he toured with the NHK Symphony Orchestra to China (Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin) to commemorate 40 years of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and China.
In addition, he was Chief Conductor (1981 to 1986), Music Advisor and Principal Conductor (1998 to 2004) and Music Director (2005 to 2015) of the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, and became their Honorary Music Director in April 2015. He led their UK tour in 2001 and Korea tour in 2005 successfully. Following his tenure with the Tokyo Philharmonic, Mr Otaka was made Permanent Conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra from l992 to 1998 (currently Honorary Guest Conductor) and his symphonic and operatic recordings with the orchestra brought much critical acclaim, as did their European tour. He also served as Principal Guest Conductor for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (2010 to 2012) and as Artistic Director of the Opera Division for the New National Theatre, Tokyo (2010 to 2014). He is currently Music Adviser of the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra and will be its Music Director from April 2018.
Now a popular and familiar figure on podiums throughout the world, he is particularly known in the UK, where he is invited as Guest Conductor to the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National, Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony, Ulster Orchestra and English Chamber Orchestra. In 1987, Mr Otaka became Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (formerly the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra) and made his Prom debut with them the following year. To quote London's Sunday Times: "In his eight years with the orchestra Otaka had worked wonders in Wales." His many appearances in UK and overseas include BBC NOW tours to European countries, Russia, and the Orchestra's first-ever Japanese and North American visits. Outside the UK, he has received invitations to the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony (hr-Sinfonieorchester), Brussels Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Bamberg Philharmonic, Strasbourg Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Netherlands Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic and others. He was recently invited to conduct the Île-de-France National Orchestra for their season opening subscription concert at the brand new hall Philharmonie de Paris in October 2016 to be hailed. In 2017, Mr Otaka and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales will hold a special concert to celebrate 30 years of collaboration.
Mr Otaka is the first ever Music Adviser and Principal Conductor of the Kioi Hall Chamber Orchestra, one of Japan's finest ensembles, and after leading them on their first overseas tour of Europe in 2000, became their Honorary Conductor Laureate in September 2003.
In the field of opera production, he has received high acclaim for his direction of Britten's Peter Grimes with Sapporo Symphony Orchestra in September 2008. Other productions of his include Beethoven's Fidelio, J.Strauss II's Die Fledermaus, Puccini's La Tosca, Wagner's Tannhaeuser with Tokyo Nikikai Opera Foundation; Bizet's Carmen, Weber's Der Freischuetz with Kansai Nikikai Opera Foundation; R.Strauss's Salome with Wales National Opera; and Britten's Peter Grimes with Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra.
Mr Otaka's wide-ranging activities include premieres of works by such distinguished composers as Teizo Matsumura, Toru Takemitsu and Akira Miyoshi, many much-praised recordings with BBC NOW by Nimbus, BIS, Chandos and Camerata Tokyo, and his dedication to nurturing future talent led to involvement with the National Youth Orchestra of Britain and the Britten-Pears Orchestra of which he was Director for three years.
In 1991, Mr Otaka received the prestigious Suntory Music Award, 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 Mr 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 is also the first Japanese ever to receive the Elgar Medal in 1999, for his continuous efforts at spreading the works by Elgar outside the UK.
Currently Mr Otaka is honorary professor of the Tokyo University of the Arts, visiting professor of the Soai University and the Kyoto City University of Arts and guest professor of the Kunitachi College of Music.

Updated April 2017

Radomil ELIŠKA
Honorary Conductor

Radomil ELIŠKA (C) Masahide Sato

Radomil Eliška was born in 1931 at the Czech Republic and studied conducting at the Janáček Academy of Music in Brno (JAMU) with Professor Břetislav Bakala, direct disciple of Leoš Janáček. From 1969 to 1990, Eliška was the Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra in the Czech, the distinguished orchestra known for playing the European premiere of Dvořák's Symphony "From the New World." In 1978, he was also invited to teach conducting at the Academy of Music in Prague (AMU), where he taught for 33 years, within which the last 17 years as the college professor. From 2001 to 2013, Eliška was the President of the Czech Antonín Dvořák Society. As a guest conductor, he conducted the Czech Philharmonic and almost all the orchestras in Czech, as well as appeared in Prague Spring International Music Festival. As guest conducting, he was also invited to Germany, Austria, Spain and former Soviet Union. His debut performance in Japan was in 2004.
Eliška made his first performance with the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra in 2006, and was appointed the Principal Guest Conductor of the orchestra in 2008, and in 2015, appointed the Honorary Conductor. Live performances of Dvořák's Symphony No. 5 to No. 9 were released, and the combination of Eliška and the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra was reviewed with much enthusiasm. His charms expanded beyond Czech music and projects on Brahms cycle and Tchaikovsky's three major symphonies were carried out. October 2017, against the instructions given by his medical doctor, Eliška made his last trip to Japan and presented "Scheherazade" with the orchestra.

Updated April 2018