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Ken Takaseki
  • Ken Takaseki

Ken Takaseki

Ken Takaseki started studying the piano and the violin in a musically affluent environment. After attending the Toho Gakuen Music High School in Tokyo, he graduated from the Toho Gakuen School of Music in 1978 as a violin major. His orchestral training began during high school, and his conducting teachers included Hideo Saito, Seiji Ozawa and Kazuyoshi Akiyama. In 1976, he received lessons from Franco Ferrara while Mr. Ferrara was visiting Japan. In November 1977, he was the first prize winner in the Herbert Von Karajan Conductors' Concours, Japan, and consequently conducted the Berlin Philharmonic at the finals and in a public concert.
Upon the invitation from Mr. Herbert Von Karajan, Ken Takaseki attended the Orchestra Academy of Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra from autumn of 1978. While in the Academy, he performed in the Berlin Philharmonic as an extra viola and keyboard player to develop a sense of orchestral pursuit. In March 1979, he filled Mr. Karajan's place for a camera rehearsal, which won a high recognition and led to his fellow position for the orchestra's concerts and tours until 1985. During this period, he was appointed Mr. Karajan's assistant conductor especially for video and audio recording performances.
In 1981, Ken Takaseki participated in the Tanglewood Music Festival. As a full scholarship recipient for the conducting programme at the Berkshire Music Centre, he studied under Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Kurt Masur, André Previn, Igor Markevich, Maurice Abravanel, and Gustav Meier. He acted as an assistant conductor for the Boston Symphony Orchestra's opera performance of Boris Godunov. In October of the same year, he made his debut as a conductor at a subscription concert of the Filharmonien Bergen. The debut was followed by winning of such awards as second prize at the 7th Malko International Competition for Young Conductors, Copenhagen, in 1983, and first prize at the 3rd Hans Swarowsky International Conductors' Competition in Vienna in 1984. The final round in Vienna was broadcast on Eurovision. He made his Japanese debut in 1985, through the recommendation of Mr. Akeo Watanabe, at a subscription concert of Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. The homecoming concert was highly acclaimed and launched his career thereafter.
Ken Takaseki's performance with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in February 1991 was highly praised, and in March of the same year, he was invited by New York's Carnegie Hall and performed in the Hall's centennial celebration concert with the Toho Gakuen Orchestra. He afterwards made a French tour with the orchestra and performed at the International Music Festival of Evian. In 1994, he realized a successful European tour for the Gunma Symphony Orchestra, which included concerts at "Spring of Prague" and "Wiener Festwochen" among seven cities. He was awarded the 1996 Music Award of Akeo Watanabe Music Foundation.
His guest conducting appearances include: Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin, WDR Sinfonieorchester Cologne, Wiener Symphoniker, Symphony Orchestra of Austrian Radio, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Filharmonien Bergen, Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of Denmark's Radio, Odense Symphony Orchestra, South Jutland Symphony Orchestra, Klangforum Wien and Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra. Other than Gunma Symphony Orchestra and Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, he has repeatedly appeared with most Japanese orchestras, such as NHK Symphony Orchestra and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

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