Kazuki Yamada Appointed Chief Conductor of City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

By Logan Martell
(Credit: Zuzzana Specjal)

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has announced that Kazuki Yamada has been named as their next Chief Conductor. Yamada will succeed Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla in April of 2023.

For the last three years, Yamada has served as CBSO’s principal guest conductor; he came to international exposure when he won the Besancon international competition for young conductors, gaining performance opportunities in Europe and debuting the with BBC Symphony Orchestra. Currently, he is the principal guest conductor and artistic director of Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, and is a permanent conductor of Japan Philharmonic, as well as music director of the Philharmonic Chorus of Tokyo. He has appeared with companies such as Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, Orchestre de Paris, Bergen Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestra.

“On his debut with the orchestra back in 2012 he made a very strong impression” said CBSO’s chief executive Stephen Maddock. “His technique is fabulous, he’s incredibly clear, he has a tremendously wide repertoire. He’s a really, really fine musician… In rehearsal, he has a laser-like ability to focus on what is the most important thing to get right. The players like that he is demanding, but it’s from a position of good grace, humor, and respect.”

One of his first endeavors will be to take CBSO on tour in Japan. A Proms debut is also set for 2023, with Yamada hoping to introduce audiences to Japanese composers such as Toru Takemitsu, Akira Miyoshi, and Toshiro Mayuzumi, as well as perform some of Mozart’s symphonic works that are not often played by larger symphonic orchestras.

“For me, the best thing about the CBSO is they know how to enjoy music,” Yamada says. “We always create something fresh and exciting. There is always a very warm atmosphere. I am always happy to see them, and am so happy to be part of their family.”