“Takuo Yuasa put his own stamp on this symphony, with his enormous precision he formed the orchestral playing with an obvious musicality and a tangilble sense of development of the symphonic drama. The dramatic contrasts were sharply drawn without ever overlapping, from the dark clarinet in the initial march funèbre to the major painful highlights of the first movement. Yuasa steered its long dramatic evolution with a calm hand and allowed the musicians to work with the fabric so the music unfolded freely and organically ..... It was clear to hear and appreciate that Takuo Yuasa's inclusive leadership inspired the orchestra and stimulated its musicians to provide their very best.”
Nordjyske Stiftstidende, May 13, 2017. Reviewer, Tore Mortensen
Takuo Yuasa is a personable and highly regarded conductor. He regularly performs throughout Europe and the Far East and in recent seasons has conducted at the Grand Théâtre de Provence in Aix, London’s Royal Festival Hall and The Barbican, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, Stuttgart’s Liederhalle and the Sibelius Hall in Lahti, Finland. Born in Osaka, where he studied piano, cello, flute and clarinet, he is deeply imbued in western culture having left Japan when he was eighteen to study in the USA at the University of Cincinnati where he completed a Bachelor Degree in Theory and Composition. Recommended by Istvan Kertesz and Janos Starker, he then moved to Europe to study conducting with Hans Swarowsky at the Hochschule in Vienna (where was also a member of the ORF Choir), with Igor Markevich in France and with Franco Ferrara in Siena before he became assistant to Lovro von Matacic, working with him in Monte Carlo, Milan and Vienna. Since winning a Special Award at the Fitelberg International Conducting Competition in Katowice, Poland, Takuo Yuasa has frequently conducted the major orchestras there, including the Warsaw National Philharmonic and Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestras. His commanding versatility is recognised by orchestras around the world who engage him to conduct standard core repertoire as well as less well-known pieces by major composers. In Japan he has held the position of Principal Conductor with the Gumma Symphony Orchestra and in the United Kingdom he has enjoyed being Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland with multiple re-extended contracts from both orchestras.
Takuo Yuasa more recent engagements include the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música and Aarhus Sinfonieorkester alongside appearing with several major Japanese orchestras including the Japan Philharmonic, Osaka Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic orchestras and a subscription series concert with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony. Elsewhere he has conducted the Oslo Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, London Philharmonic (“...La Mer is often mistreated as a flashy showcase for virtuoso orchestras but here Yuasa enticed the LPO to play with chamber-like intimacy and a delicate transparency.... It is difficult to imagine a more atmospheric, dramatic and sensitively played La Mer”), New Zealand Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Brabants Orkest, Luxembourg Philharmonic, Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony and Queensland Orchestras and in the UK he has been a frequent visitor to the Hallé Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra whilst his musicianship and infectious leadership attracts several European music conservatoires and the national youth orchestras of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire to engage him to work with their next generation of performers.
Takuo Yuasa has a most successful recording career as a Naxos artist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and others. He attracts fine reviews (“… Yuasa’s accounts [of Webern’s orchestral pieces] have the spare, skeletal feel and expressive economy that makes them very rewarding indeed. An outstanding achievement.” Classics Today) and on EMI in Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (“As with Haitink, there is a feeling of freshness and an absence of routine in Yuasa’s performance.” The Gramophone) in a wide range of repertoire which covers Britten, Macmillan and Rawsthorne, Webern and Schoenberg, Honegger, Vieuxtemps, Macdowell, Schubert, Pärt, Górecki, Glass and Nyman alongside an emerging strand of Japanese composers who include Matsumura, Mayuzumi, Ohki, Bekku, Yashiro, Moroi, Akutagawa and Yamada. He has also recorded the complete symphonies of Brahms and Schumann live from concerts with the Osaka Century Orchestra for release in Japan on CD.
Takuo Yuasa received the prestigious Iue Cultural Award in October 2007, created by Toshio Iue (founder of SANYO), for his exceptional contribution to music and for his international artistic achievements. He is also Professor Emeritus of the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music.