Kazuki Yamada is Designate Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), a role he commences in spring 2023, building upon the deep musical bond formed with players during his time as Principal Guest Conductor of the orchestra.
Alongside his commitments in Birmingham, Yamada is also Artistic and Music Director of Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo. Having already worked with the two organisations in partnership, conducting collaborative performances of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” in Monaco in 2019, Yamada’s new appointment sees a continuing 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 under the close supervision of Seiji Ozawa served to underline the importance of what Kazuki 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 NHK Symphony Orchestra and in his position as Principal Guest Conductor with Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. Shortly after assuming his position 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 begins with his debut at the BBC Proms with CBSO in summer 2022. He continues regular guesting 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 debut appearances with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Belgique and the Minnesota Orchestra. He also returns to Opéra de MonteCarlo for a production of Saint-Saëns’ rarely programmed “Déjanire” and Berlioz’s “La damnation de Faust”. Future guesting 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 Covid-19 pandemic on international concert halls reaffirmed his belief that -– in his words – ‘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 both for Mozart and the Russian romantic repertory. He first achieved international attention upon 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.