The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra has the longest history and tradition of any orchestra in Japan, having been originally established in Nagoya in 1911. It is currently the largest orchestra in Japan with 166 members and is distinguished for its active and varied schedule embracing symphonic concerts, opera and ballet.
After moving its base to Tokyo in 1938 the orchestra played a pivotal role in bringing authentic opera to the Japanese public under Chief conductor Manfred Gurlitt (1890-1972.) Shortly after the war, the orchestra became a fully independent organization and changed its name to the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra focusing on subscription concerts, opera and ballet while also pursuing an active broadcasting program with NHK.
Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra performs regularly at Tokyo's most distinguished Suntory and Orchard Halls and at Tokyo Opera City where it has its base. The orchestra has received many awards and honors, including the Ongaku No Tomo Sha Prize (1984), the Agency for Cultural Affairs "Art Festival Prize"(1986) and "Art Festival Grand Prize" (1995). Furthermore, the orchestra has been designated as one of the organizations for the Agency for Cultural Affairs "Special Program to Artistic Creativity". From 1997 it became the regular orchestra at Tokyo's New National Theatre.
In 1999, Norio Ohga, Chairman of SONY Corporation, was appointed Chairman of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2001, with visions of further growth, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra merged with the Japan Shinsei Symphony Orchestra.
From 2001, Myung-Whun Chung has been the Special Artistic Advisor of Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Under his guidance the Orchestra carries out regular subscription concerts at Orchard Hall and Suntory Hall in Tokyo and opera and ballet performances at the New National Theatre while also continuing a varied broadcasting and special concert program.
In 2001 Mr. Ryoji Chubachi, Vice Chairman, Representative Corporate Executive Officer of Sony Corporation,assumed the position of the Tokyo Philharmonic's President, and Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairmanand CEO of Rakuten, Inc., became Chairman.
In 2012, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra's 100th Anniversary Special Concert, conducted by Myung-Whun Chung, was held at Suntory Hall.
The Orchestra regularly performs in regions outside Tokyo and engages in regional cultural exchange and education programs. Tokyo Philharmonic has carried out 3 well-received European tours and is regarded as an upcoming world-class orchestra.