“The evening began with Strauss’s Don Juan in a very well-shaped, fine performance of gusto and verve, presenting shifts of character and fine instrumental solos with the orchestra and conductor clearly on the same wavelength. This marvellous cooperation culminated after the interval with a marvellous realisation of Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony in which we heard again and again fine solo and orchestral playing. The conductor, Takuo Yuasa, brought dynamic transitions and an organic growth throughout, bringing a natural musical expression and elegance alongside a freedom in the way he enabled the solo musicians to play. The performance was absolutely wonderful.” - Aarhus Symfoniorkester, Denmark
In recent seasons Takuo Yuasa has conducted at the Grand Théâtre de Provence in Aix, London’s Royal Festival Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, Stuttgart’s Liederhalle and the Sibelius Hall in Lahti, Finland. This personable and highly regarded Japanese conductor regularly performs throughout Europe and the Far East. 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 during multiple re-extended contracts from both orchestras.
Although born in Osaka where he studied piano, cello, flute and clarinet, he is deeply imbued in western culture having left Japan at 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.
Takuo Yuasa debuts with the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra amongst other engagements this season and has recently conducted the Orchestre National de France, Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música and Aarhus alongside appearing with several major Japanese orchestras including the Japan Philharmonic, Osaka Philharmonic and New Japan Philharmonic orchestras in engagements that include a subscription series concert with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony. He is also Professor, Performing Arts Centre, Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music where he is closely associated with the university’s wonderful new Sogaduko Concert Hall and appears with the Geidai Philharmonia Orchestra. Outside Japan 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 Nacional do Porto, 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 conduct a new 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.
Catch a glimpse of Takuo Yuasa on https://vimeo.com/75472864
Listen to the interview in Casa Da Música with Takuo Yuasa https://vimeo.com/106472968