Kazuki Yamada is Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), a role he commenced in Spring 2023. Alongside his commitments in Birmingham, Yamada is also Artistic and Music Director of Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo (OPMC). Yamada has forged a link between Monaco and Birmingham having conducted collaborative performances with CBSO Chorus of Mendelssohn’s Elijah in both cities in 2019 and Orff’s Carmina Burana in 2023. CBSO Chorus open the current season with Yamada in both Birmingham and in Monaco with performances of Verdi Requiem and Mahler Symphony No 2 respectively.
"The orchestra play with a unity and a precision under his baton that I have seldom heard with anyone else"
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 gave a series of concerts on tour around Japan with the CBSO in summer 2023 and will take OPMC on tour to Japan in 2024.
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 return to the BBC Proms with CBSO in summer 2023, closely followed by his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood Festival. He takes the CBSO on tour to Germany and Switzerland in autumn 2023 followed by further concerts around Europe in spring 2024. He continues regular guesting commitments with Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and Orchestre National de France. He makes debut appearances with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Oslo Philharmonic, Orquesta Nacionales de España and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Yamada performs with soloists such as Emanuel Ax, Leif Ove Andsnes, Seong-Jin Cho, Isabelle Faust, Martin Helmchen, Nobuko Imai, Lucas and Arthur Jussen, Alexander Kantorow, Evgeny Kissin, Maria João Pires, Baiba Skride, Fazıl Say, 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 and is strongly committed to the outreach programme at CBSO. 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.