Kazuki Yamada is chief conductor designate and artistic adviser of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; he takes up the roles in spring 2023, building upon the deep musical bond he formed with players during his time as principal guest conductor of the orchestra.
Alongside his commitments in Birmingham, Yamada is also the artistic and music director of Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. He has already worked with the two organizations in partnership, conducting collaborative performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah in Monaco in 2019. Thus, Yamada’s new appointment continues a link forged between Monaco and Birmingham, with the CBSO Chorus set for a return to Monaco in 2023 for a performance of Orff’s Carmina burana.
Time spent with Seiji Ozawa underlined the importance of what Yamada calls his “Japanese feeling” for classical music. Born in 1979 in Kanagawa, Japan, he continues to work and perform in Japan every season with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and in his position as principal guest conductor with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. Shortly after assuming his posts in Birmingham, Yamada will give a series of concerts on tour around Japan with the CBSO in summer 2023.
Yamada’s passionate and collaborative approach to conducting means he commands a busy international diary of concerts, opera and choral conducting. The current season began with his debut at the BBC Proms with the CBSO in summer 2022. He continues regular guest commitments with Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, also returning to Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra.
He makes debuts with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Belgique and the Minnesota Orchestra. He also returns to the Opéra de Monte Carlo for Saint-Saëns’ rarely programmed Déjanire and Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust. Future guest dates include Swedish Radio Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
Yamada performs with soloists such as Emanuel Ax, Leif Ove Andsnes, Seong-Jin Cho, Isabelle Faust, Martin Helmchen, Nobuko Imai, Alexander Kantorow, Evgeny Kissin, Daniel Lozakovich, Maria Joao Pires, Baiba Skride, Arabella Steinbacher, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Krystian Zimerman and Frank Peter Zimmermann.
Strongly committed to his role as an educator, Yamada appears annually as a guest artist at the Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland. The impact of the pandemic on international concert halls reaffirmed his belief that “the audience is always involved in making the music. As a conductor, I need an audience there as much as the musicians.”
Yamada studied music at the Tokyo University of the Arts, where he discovered a love for Mozart and the Russian romantic repertory. He first achieved international attention after receiving first prize in the 51st Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors in 2009. After living in Japan for most of his life, he now resides in Berlin.
Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.