Currently in his second season as Chief Conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi brings Japan’s leading ensemble on tour to Europe this Spring as a part of the orchestra’s 90th birthday celebrations with concerts at Berlin Philharmonie (28 February), Luxembourg Philharmonie (1 March), Paris Philharmonie (2 March), Amsterdam Concertgebouw (4 March), London Royal Festival Hall (6 March), Vienna Konzerthaus (7 March) and Köln Philharmonie (8 March). Featured repertoire includes Mahler Symphony No. 6 "Tragische", Shostakovch Symphony No. 10, Toru Takemitsu's Requiem for Strings (1957), Mozart Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major K.216 and Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor. Joining them on stage is soloist Janine Jansen (full tour programme below).

"I am extremely excited about bringing the NHK Symphony Orchestra to Europe and also proud to “show off” these musicians because the orchestra is, in my opinion, one of the best ensembles I have ever had the pleasure to conduct" commented Paavo Järvi. "I personally got to know the quality of their playing quite some time ago. It is more than a decade since I conducted them for the first time and, without any exaggeration, there was an immediate sense of being taken aback. The first thing that won me over was their attitude, which is both creative and committed, and then there is the enormous discipline, virtuosity and preparation. Our relationship was allowed to develop very naturally over a period of time and it has definitely been one of the highlights of my life so far when I was asked to be their Chief Conductor. I feel that we have a very close musical relationship and for some reason, although it must be a rather unusual combination to have a Japanese orchestra and Estonian conductor, there must be something similar in our genes - because somehow there is a clarity in the way we communicate with each other which fits so naturally."

Coinciding with the tour, Sony is releasing Paavo Järvi's first recording with the NHK Symphony Orchestra on the Red Seal Label - Richard Strauss' tone poems Ein Heldenleben and Don Juan recorded live in concert from Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

“When I was thinking about my first recording project with the NHK Symphony Orchestra, it brought to mind the orchestra’s great tradition, its famous sound, and the conductors who have had a deep influence on it” commented Järvi. “It is well-known that the NHK SO has a very German character because its long performance tradition with some of the greatest German and Austrian conductors and Richard Strauss’ music seemed to me to be such a natural and logical choice because the musicians create a brilliant sound with breathtaking technique."

This recording is the first in a series of three albums dedicated to music of Richard Strauss of which Volume 2 (Don Quixote, Till Eulenspiegel and Der Rosenkavalier Suite) was recently voted Best Orchestral Recording at Japan's Record Academy Awards.

The history of the NHK Symphony Orchestra dates back to October 5th, 1926 when a professional orchestra called the New Symphony Orchestra was formed. After being briefly called the Japan Symphony Orchestra, it was renamed the NHK Symphony Orchestra when it began to receive full financial support from Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) in 1951. During those years, the orchestra invited German conductor Joseph Rosenstock as its Chief Conductor, under whose baton the orchestra established the foundation to become Japan’s leading orchestra. Thereafter, the orchestra continually invited many of the world’s most renowned conductors of the time, including Herbert von Karajan, Ernest Ansermet, Joseph Keilberth and Lovro von Matačić, to name but a few, and worked with some of the world’s most celebrated soloists to offer the public innumerable outstanding performances which have become entrenched as part of Japan’s history of classical music. The subscription concerts series, which is the core of its activities, started on February 20th, 1927, and has continued without interruption ever since, even during the Second World War.

In recent years, the orchestra has presented approximately 120 concerts nationwide annually, including 54 subscription concerts which have been relayed to every corner of the country on NHK television and through FM radio broadcasts. The concerts can also be heard in Europe, the United States and Asia through its international broadcast service. It has also won world-wide acclaim for its overseas tours, including its first appearance in the Salzburg Festival in August 2013.


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