Takuo Yuasa – Conductor

Takuo Yuasa

“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.



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Bohuslav Martinu, Symphony No.4
Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto (Soloist, Liza Ferschtman)
Smetana, Overture: Battered Bride
Interview with Maestro Yuasa Taku on the concert program of 19 September 2014 (Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música)


ComposerWorkLabel / CD
London Philharmonic Orchestra
EMI Eminence
Penguin Guide ***
BRITTENPeter Grimes ~ Four Sea Interludes
Gloriana ~ Symphonic Suite
The Prince of Pagodas ~ Pas de six
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
EMI Eminence CDEMX 2231
Penguin Guide ***
BRITTENConcerto for Violin
Symphony for Cello and Orchestra
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Naxos 8.553882
BBC *****
Classic CD *****
GLASSViolin Concerto
Prelude and Dance from Akhnaten
Naxos 8.554568
Penguin Guide ***
GÖRECKISymphony No. 3 “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs
Yvonne Kenny
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
ABC Classics 472 040 2
Penguin Guide ***
MACMILLANVeni, veni Emmanuel
Ulster Orchestra
Naxos 8.554167
Penguin Guide ***
BBC *****
NYMANPiano Concerto
Where the Bee Dances
Ulster Orchestra
Naxos 8.554168
BBC *****
Classic CD *****
SCHUBERTSymphony No.9 in C
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
TAVENERProtecting Veil
In Alium
Ulster Orchestra
Naxos 8.554388
Penguin Guide ***
VIEUXTEMPSViolin Concertos Nos 1 & 4
Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra
Naxos 8.554506
Penguin Guide ***
VIEUXTEMPSViolin Concerto No. 7
Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra
Penguin Guide ***
Five Pieces
Ulster Orchestra
Naxos 8.554841
Pizzicato Super Sonic rating
SCHOENBERGAccompaniment to a Cinematographic
Scene Chamber Symphony No. 2
Verklarte Nacht
Ulster Orchestra
Naxos 8.554371
Classic CD *****
FERREROLa Nueva Espana
National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine
Naxos 8.555044
Classic Today 10/10
PÅRTTabula Rosa
Symphony No. 3
Ulster Orchestra
Naxos 8.554591
Classic Today 10/10
Piano Concerto
Ulster Orchestra
Naxos 8.555351
“Best Recorded Contemporary Music” Japan 2003
Ulster Orchestra
Naxos 8.555350
LALOSymphonie Espagnole
Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia / Zhang
Naxos 8.555093
RAWSTHORNEPiano Concerto No. 1 & 2
Ulster Orchestra / Donohoe
Naxos 8.555959
Penguin Guide ***
AKUTAGAWAElola Symphony
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
**Recommendation of the Month/ Record Geijutu, Japan
Penguin Guide ***
HONEGGERSymphony No. 3
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Naxos 8.555974
Birmingham Post ” 2004 Best 5 Classical CD”
KOEHNEPower House
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Naxos 8.555847
Nominated for
Australian Classical Music Award
Orchestra work of the year 2005
MOROISymphony No. 3
National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Naxos 8.557162
currently only available in Japan.
This recording will be released internationally in the near future.
RUBBRAViolin Concerto
Ulster Orchestra
Naxos 8.557591
Penguin Guide ***
Mandala Symphony
Symphonic Mood
New Zealand Symphony
Naxos 8.557693J
**Recommendation of the Month/ Record Geijutu, Japan

Symphony No. 5
Japanese Rhapsody
New Japan Philharmonic
Naxos 8.557839J
Recommendation of the month / Record Geijyutsu
LEVYSymphony No. 3
Cello Concerto
National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Naxos 8.559234
BEKKUSymphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Naxos 8.557763J
HARTYPiano Concerto
Comedy Overture
Fantasy Scenes
Ulster Orchestra, Peter Donohoe
Naxos 8.557731
Penguin Guide ***
BRAHMS4 Symphonies
Century Orchestra Osaka
Live Notes WWCC-7517-9
SCHUMANNSymphonies 1,2,3 and 4
Century Orchestra Osaka
Live Notes WWCC-7551
Recommendation of the month / Record Geijyutus