Kazushi Ono debuts as conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra
Kazushi Ono, principal conductor of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, debuts on Sunday 20 October as guest conductor with Sir Simon Rattle’s London Symphony Orchestra, one of the most prestigious orchestras in the world.
The programme, which will be performed at the Barbican Centre in London, features music by Czech composers Antonín Dvořák and Leoš Janáček. The London Symphony Chorus (directed by Simon Halsey, who is also director of Orfeó Català), accompanied by vocal soloists Lucie Vagenknechtová, Lucie Hilscherová, Aleš Briscein and Jan Martiník, will perform Dvořák’s symphonic poem The Golden Spinning Wheel and Janáček’s The Ballad of Blaník and his glorious Glagolitic Mass.
Kazushi Ono’s calm and unhurried interpretive style conveys openness and receptiveness, and at the same allows him to consolidate his absolute mastery of the music. He transmits complex messages with fluid, expressive gestures and a wisdom nurtured by his inexhaustible passion for making and exploring music with others. After work, he usually relaxes by playing passages from the evening’s programme on the piano. In short, music has been a driving force in his life since childhood.
As musical director of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, Kazushi Ono, who is also artistic director of the New National Theatre, Tokyo, enjoys a privileged position that allows him to commission several new works and projects, which he has done with great success. These undertakings include the orchestral hit Hibiki, by Mark-Anthony Turnage, which premiered at Suntory Hall prior to being performed at the BBC Proms, and the new musical delight from Japanese composer Akira Nishimura, the opera Asters. As a member of the Olympic Games 2020 cultural committee, Kazushi Ono proposed a staging of Turandot in summer 2019, with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra in the pit and Alex Ollé conducting. This is the first performance in a two-year international opera project led by Kazushi Ono and developed by the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan and the New National Theatre, Tokyo, that will showcase Japanese cultural life on the eve of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Kazushi Ono’s musical flexibility means that he is in constant demand around the world. His fame, consolidated in the opera world, has led him to conduct orchestras such as the Hallé Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Houston Symphony Orchestra, where his acclaimed performance “translated into a first-rate concert loaded with strong emotions, fragile beauty and panoramic grandeur.” His recent operatic works include Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher (Joan of Arc at the Stake) —composed by Honegger and staged by Castellucci—, Ono’s last production as principal conductor of the Lyon National Opera Orchestra, which will be revived this season at La Monnaie; Hermann’s acclaimed work Der Mieter (The Tenant), which premiered at the Oper Frankfurt, and The Fiery Angel, by Prokofiev, performed in Warsaw and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival (directed by Treliński).
From 2008 al 2017, Kazushi Ono was principal conductor of the Lyon National Opera Orchestra, during which time he gained international acclaim with iconic performances of works such as The Gambler, by Prokofiev; Lulu, by Berg, and Parsifal, by Wagner. Prior to his work in Lyon, Kazushi Ono was musical director of La Monnaie Royal Theatre for six highly successful seasons, taking over from Antonio Pappano. Following his tenure as principal conductor with the Lyon National Opera Orchestra, he was honoured with the distinction Officier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen, a further honorary title to add to the prestigious Asahi Prize, which he was awarded in January 2015 for his contribution to Japanese society. This prize recognises individuals who have contributed greatly to the development and progress of Japanese society and culture.