Conductor Nodoka Okisawa

Nodoka Okisawa has been appointed as the 14th Chief Conductor of the City of Kyoto Symphony Orchestra. During her initial three-year term which began in April 2023, she will lead the renowned Japanese orchestra in subscription, education and family concerts.

Nodoka is the winner of the prestigious Concours international de jeunes chefs d’orchestre de Besançon 2019, where she was awarded the Grand Prix, the Orchestra Prize and the Audience Prize. Furthermore, in 2018 she won the Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting, one of the most important international conducting competitions.

From 2020 to 2022, Nodoka Okisawa held a scholarship at the Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker and was also assistant to Kirill Petrenko. In addition to her own concert projects together with the academy members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, she also conducted the Solidarity Concert for Ukraine in March 2022 with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker at the invitation of the Federal President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Another highlight was the joint anniversary concert with Kirill Petrenko to mark the 50th anniversary of the Karajan Academy in May 2022.

In the 2023/24 season, Nodoka Okisawa makes her debut with the Kammerorchester Basel, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Québec and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, among others. She will also make her subscription debut with the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo and returns to the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and the Münchener Symphoniker, where she was Artist in Residence during the 2022/23 season.

She is a regular guest with leading orchestras in Japan, including the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa. At the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival 2022, the 30th anniversary edition of the festival, Nodoka Okisawa made her debut with the Saito Kinen Orchestra conducting Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” in a production by Laurent Pelly.

Okisawa attended numerous masterclasses, including with Neeme and Paavo Järvi and Kurt Masur. In 2019 she was selected for the Riccardo Muti Italian Opera Academy in Tokyo. She has gained further experience in the past as assistant conductor of the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa and in opera productions in Japan and Europe. In November 2020, she conducted a production of Lehár’s “The Merry Widow” at the Tokyo Nikikai Opera Theatre.

In 2023, Nodoka Okisawa was awarded the “Hideo Saito Memorial Fund Award” by the Sony Music Foundation.

Born in Aomori, Japan, she learned to play the piano, cello and oboe from an early age. She studied conducting at the Tokyo University of the Arts with Ken Takaseki and Tadaaki Otaka and graduated with a master’s degree. In 2019 she obtained her second master’s degree at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin under Christian Ehwald and Hans-Dieter Baum. Nodoka Okisawa lives in Berlin.