Kazuyoshi Akiyama

02.01.1941  in Tokyo


Kazuyoshi Akiyama began his musical life at the age of three studying the piano under his mother, a highly regarded instructor in Tokyo. He entered the piano department of Toho Gakuen School of Music, then was strongly influenced by the conducting activities of one student, Seiji Ozawa. Akiyama quickly changed to the conducting department and was soon studying under Hideo Saito. In February 1974, a year after graduating, Mr. Akiyama made his debut engagement with "The Tokyo Symphony". The tremendous success of this collaboration led to his nomination for and acceptance of the dual post of Music Director and Permanent Conductor just two months later, a position he maintains today. Overseas, this artist's conducting successes began with U.S. and Europe tours of the Toho Gakuen School of Music Orchestra. Maestro Akiyama quickly went on to guest conduct ensembles including the Toronto Symphony, American Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras. He gained recognition in guest engagements with the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra. His reputation spread to Europe, and he was invited there to conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cologne Broadcast Symphony Orchestra, and Bayerisches Broadcast Orchestra. Maestro Akiyama has since become a regular guest conductor to numerous orchestras around orchestras around the world, particularly to major orchestras in the United States. His many professional posts have included Assistant Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (1968-1969), Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra (1973-1978), and Music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (1972-1985). Maestro Akiyama was granted the title of Conductor Laureate of the Vancouver symphony upon leaving his post there in 1985. From 1985 to 1993, Maestro Akiyama held the post of Music director to the Syracuse symphony Orchestra. He is the recipient of numerous citations, including the Suntory Music Award of 1975, the Kyoto Music Award of 1993, the 1995 Mainichi Arts Award, the 1995 Arts Encouragement Prize of the Minister of Education, and the 29th Suntory Music Award. In 1991, Kazuyoshi Akiyama led The Tokyo Symphony in a successful world tour to celebrate the orchestra's 45th anniversary which included performances in New York at the United Nations, as well as in London under the auspices of the United Kingdom's Japan Festival. More recently, he commemorated his 30th year as Music Director and Permanent Conductor of The Tokyo Symphony and also the orchestra's 400th subscription performance in a 1994 concert-style performance of Schoenberg's Moses and Aaron, the first Japan performance of that work with Japanese artists. In addition to his position as both Music Director and Permanent conductor with the Tokyo Symphony since 1964, Maestro Akiyama has also acted as Principal Conductor and Music Adviser of the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra since 1998. In 2001, he was awarded Medal with Purple Ribbon.