Conductor and music director who started taking piano lessons with his mother at three years of age and studied conducting at the Toho Gakuen School of Music with Hideo Saito. He put his education to good use, as conductor of the Toko Gakuen School of Music Orchestra, and as principal guest conductor of the Osaka Philharmonic.
In 1968, he became the assistant conductor for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, a post he held for about a year. He was the music director for the American Symphony Orchestra from 1973 to 1977. In between, he was named music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and music director and permanent conductor of the Tokyo Symphony. His stint as music director of the VSO ended in 1985, although he stayed on as Conductor Laureate, and began a six-year tenure as music director of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. In 1987, he and Seiji Ozawa inaugurated The Saito Kinen Orchestra, which enjoyed some success in Salzburg and Vienna, Austria.
The Tokyo Symphony went on a massive international tour in 1991, in celebration of their 45th anniversary, that included stops at the Japan Festival in London, England, and the United Nations in New York, New York. In 1994, he appeared on a pair of albums, Brass: Greatest Hits and Music of Michael Conway Baker. These were followed by Michiharu Matsunaga – Constellations of Time in 1996. In 1998, he became the music advisor and principal conductor of the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra, roles he also filled for the Kyushu Symphony.
Other recordings on which he appears include: Akiyama Kazuyoshi = Kyushu Kou; Brass – Super Hits; The Min-On Contemporary Music Festival; Miyoshi: Symphonies 4 Tetralo; R. Murray Schafer – Concertos, Schoenberg – Die Jakobsleiter; Friede auf Erden; Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2; Scheherazade; The Seasons; Trumpet Concertos; and, Walkurenritt.
In 2004, he was named principal guest conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. He has also worked with the BayerischerRundfunk Orchestra, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cologne Radio Orchestra, the Hamburg Radio Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, and the Tonhalle Orchestra.
Many accolades have been rained down on this prolific conductor, such as the Arts Encouragement Prize of the Minister of Education, and the Kyoto, Mainichi and Suntory music awards.
The Principal Brass of the New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphony Orchestra recordings
Canzon in Double Echo (Giovanni Gabrieli)
Arranger – Arthur Frackenpohl
Here he is conducting the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra…