Norio Ohga
  • Norio Ohga

Permanent Honorary Member and Conductor Laureate
Norio Ohga

January 29, 1930, born in Sennbon Matsubara, Numazu City in Shizuoka. In 1959, he graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music and furthered his study in the Diploma course of the same university. In that year, he made a debut as a soloist (baritone singer) at an NHK Symphony Orchestra subscription concert, singing Beethoven's Fidelio.

After completing his Diploma course, he moved to Germany and graduated from Universitat der Kunste Berlin with top honors. Upon returning to Japan, Ohga appeared in performances as a baritone, including the Tokyo Philharmonic's subscription concerts, lied concerts, and operas.

In 1959, Ohga joined Sony Corporation, persuaded by colleagues Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita, and for a while pursued two careers as a Sony employee by day and a musician at night. He promoted degitalization of recording media, and with the support of Mr. Karajan, whom he closely befriended while in Germany, succeeded in launching the Compact Disc (CD) as a product. He also played the main role in promoting it. He became President of Sony in 1989, and CEO in 1995.

On the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, Ohga returned to music,
the career he pursued in his youth, this time as an orchestra conductor. He conducted the world's top orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. He performed many works of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Brahms. In 1994, Ohga donated the Seiji Ozawa Hall at the site of the Tanglewood Music Festival. In 1999, he became President and Chiarman of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2004, he was appointed Executive Director at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan. In 2005, Ohga donated his retirement fund from Sony for the construction of Karuizawa Ohga Hall for Karuizawa City.

In April 2011, Ohga passed away. It happened to be at the age of 81 and 3 months, the same as his admired friend, Karajan. In 2012, for his long time dedication and tremendous contribution,the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra named him as Permanent Honorary Member and Conductor Laureate. He received the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasury and a number of awards and decorations domestically and internationally.

Norio Ohga

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