Japanese star conductor named to top Swiss orchestra

Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:37pm EDT
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GENEVA, Sept 22 (Reuters Life!) -- Rising Japanese concert star Kazuki Yamada has been appointed first-ever principal guest conductor to Switzerland's leading classical music ensemble, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.

An announcement on Wednesday from the orchestra, based in Geneva, said the 31-year-old Yamada who is currently based in Berlin would join them for three seasons from September 2012, conducting at least 10 concerts a year.

The Suisse Romande, which won world fame in the 1950s and 1960s under its then conductor Ernest Ansermet, was founded in 1918.

Kanagawa-born Yamada graduated in 2001 from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music where he studied under Japanese maestros Ken-ichiro Kobayashi and Yoko Matsuo.

While still studying, he formed the Yokohama Sinfonietta with whom he conducted all 9 Beethoven symphonies at the age of 22. He remains the orchestra's musical director.

(Editing by Jonathan Lynn and Paul Casciato)