Kazushi Ono cherishes music’s power to bring people together. His manner in rehearsal, quiet and calm, exudes qualities of openness and receptivity. The conductor conveys complex messages in performance with effortless expressive gestures and a wisdom informed by his inexhaustible passion for making and exploring music with others. It is in his nature to unwind after conducting by playing through passages from the evening’s programme at the piano. Music, in short, has supplied the essential spirit of life since childhood.
In April 2015 Kazushi Ono returned to his home city to become Music Director of Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, taking responsibility for leading the institution’s artistic development and raising its international profile. He is set to assume the position of Musical Director with the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya from September 2015, where his first seasons will include performances of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges and Bernstein’s Mass.
Alongside his engagements in Tokyo and Barcelona, Kazushi Ono will resume his position in the Opéra national de Lyon where he was appointed as Principal Conductor in September 2008. While in Lyon, he attracted international critical acclaim with landmark performances of works such as Prokofiev’s The Gamblers, Berg’s Lulu and Wagner’s Parsifal, and has since reinforced the company’s reputation for creative high adventure with a series of new productions, including the compelling double bill of Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero and Schoenberg’s Erwartung (2013); Beethoven’s Fidelio, in Lyon and at the Edinburgh International Festival (2013); Britten’s Peter Grimes and The Turn of the Screw (2014); and Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande (2015).
One of the finest conductors of his generation, Kazushi Ono is described by Le Figaro as ‘one of the most fascinating musical minds of our era’. He is in demand at many of the world’s foremost opera companies, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Deutsche Staatsoper and the Opéra de Paris among them. His exceptional abilities as an orchestral conductor, nourished by a near-alchemical blend of profound musicianship, psychological insight and artistic discernment, have been refined by the combination of his permanent posts and guest engagements with, among others, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Kazushi Ono’s discography reflects the breadth of his repertoire, from Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel to works by Dutilleux, Rihm and Turnage, including “Diva, Divo”, an arias album made with Joyce DiDonato and the Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Lyon, which received a coveted Grammy Award in 2012. The conductor’s work was honoured again in 2014 with his Glyndebourne Festival account of Ravel’s L’heure espagnole and L’enfant et les sortilèges which secured Gramophone’s Opera Award.