The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has announced Kazuki Yamada to succeed Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.
The Japanese conductor is already known to the players and the audience of the CBSO, as he has been the orchestra’s principal guest conductor since 2018, having made his debut with the ensemble in 2012.
His appointment as chief conductor and artistic advisor begins on April 1, 2023 for an initial four and a half years.
“I first worked with the CBSO in 2012 and immediately felt a very sincere connection with the players,” said Yamada. ‘That connection has really grown and grown over the past nine years; our joint tour to Japan in 2016 was one of the highlights of my career. After that, the relationship was even deeper. I am so happy, enthusiastic and above all honored to continue our journey together as chief conductor and artistic advisor to the orchestra.
Yamada is also Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Orchester Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Permanent Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. He becomes the first non-European conductor to direct the CBSO.
There was praise from players at the CBSO, including leader Eugene Tzikindelean – “To be honest, I don’t know what I love most about playing with him: his impeccable technique, his exquisite musical taste, style or the depth of his artistic thoughts” – and CBSO Players’ Committee chairman and clarinetist Joanna Patton, who described him as “a kind, energetic, respectful musician who connects the orchestra with a sense of magic”. His concerts are stories without words, full of emotions, freedom and a feeling of trust that is both exhilarating and rewarding. “
Gražinytė-Tyla has been leading the orchestra since 2016; her recording of the Weinberg Symphonies Nos. 2 and 21, which was released by DG, was mentioned last year gramophone Record of the year.