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Eiji Oue

  • Conductor Laureate, NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Hannover
  • Principal Conductor, Osaka Philharmonic

Renowned for his ‘extraordinary interpretations’ (La Nacion) and his ‘trademark good humour […] and great energy’ (BackTrack), Eiji Oue has conducted many of the world’s top orchestras throughout his career, including the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, and the Munich Philharmonic. Oue is currently Conductor Laureate of both the Osaka Philharmonic, having served as its Music Director from 2003-2011, and the NDR Radio Philharmonic in Hanover, following an eleven year tenure as Principal Guest Conductor (1998-2009). He has also held the positions of Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra (1995-2002) and Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (2006-2010). As previous Music Director of Wyoming’s Grand Teton Music Festival (1997-2003), Oue was the driving force behind the founding of one of the festival’s most beloved events, its annual outdoor Fourth of July Community Concert.

Oue begins his 2018/2019 season with a return invitation to conduct the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, before returning to Japan, where he will continue his season work with the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra. Oue will also embark on a Korean tour with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as perform with the Hiroshima and Kyushu symphony orchestras. Other season highlights include re-invitations to work with the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Buenos Aires Philharmonic at Teatro Colon, and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony.

Past season highlights include an extensive world tour celebrating the centenary of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, tours to Japan and South America with the NDR Radio Philharmonic, a cycle of American repertoire and notable celebration of Leonard Bernstein across the Wroclaw Philharmonic’s 2017/18 season, engagements at the renowned La Folle Journée festival in Warsaw, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI in Turin, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon, Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava, Belgrade Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfonia de Tenerife, Orquesta de Valencia, Sao Paolo Symphony, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, RTE National Symphony, and the Orchestre National de Lyon, amongst others.

Oue recorded extensively with the Minnesota Orchestra in repertoire including Bernstein, Stravinsky, Mahler, Strauss, Copland, and Rachmaninov. With the NDR Hanover, he has recorded the music of Antheil, Martinů, Schnittke and Strauss’ orchestral songs with soprano Michaela Kaune, and for Deutsche Grammophon he recorded the violin concertos of Paganini and Spohr. Other collaborators include Sarah Chang, Hilary Hahn, Nemanja Radulovic, Fazil Say, Midori, Conrad Tao, Nelson Goerner, Emmanuel Ceysson, Nicolas Altstaedt, Stephen Kovacevich, David Fray, Roger Muraro, and Trio Jean Paul.

Passionate about music education and stewarding the next generation of musicians, Oue is Professor of Conducting at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hanover, a post he’s held since 2000. Amongst his many honours and awards are the 1980 Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood and both first prize and the Hans Harin Gold Medal at the 1981 Salzburg Mozarteum conducting competitions. In November 2005 he received the Praetorius Music Prize from the state of Lower Saxony and the Lower Saxony Order of Merit in 2009.

Born in Hiroshima, Japan, Oue began piano lessons at the age of four, eventually entering the Toho Gakuen School of Music as a performance major where he began his conducting studies with Seiji Ozawa’s teacher Hideo Saito. In 1978, he was invited by Maestro Ozawa to spend the summer studying at the Tanglewood Music Center. It was there that he met Leonard Bernstein, who became his long-time mentor and colleague. They shared the podium on three international tours with concerts at Teatro alla Scala, Wiener Staatsoper, Opéra de Paris, and in Moscow, St Petersburg, Berlin, Rome, and other musical capitals. In 1990 he assisted Bernstein in the creation of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, serving as resident conductor for the Festival Orchestra.