Hiroshi Wakasugi

Hiroshi Wakasugi (若杉 弘, Wakasugi Hiroshi, 31 May 1935  21 July 2009) was a Japanese orchestra conductor. He premiered many of the major Western operas in Japan, and was honoured with many awards for cultural achievement.

Hiroshi Wakasugi
Born(1935-05-31)May 31, 1935
DiedJuly 21, 2009(2009-07-21) (aged 74)
Other names若杉 弘


Born in New York, where his father was the Japanese Consul-General, Wakasugi studied music with Hideo Saito and Nobori Kaneko at the Tokyo University of the Arts. After graduation, he was appointed researching conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra (Japan). From 1965, he led and developed the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, now one of the leading orchestras in Japan. For their premiere of Penderecki's St. Luke Passion, Wakasugi was awarded the National Arts Festival Prize by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1968. He established the Tokyo Chamber Opera Theatre in 1969, and was its artistic director at the time of his death.

Besides leading many international orchestras, Hiroshi Wakasugi was principal conductor of the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1977 to 1983, and general music director of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf from 1981 to 1986. He was artistic director and principal conductor of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich in Switzerland from 1987 to 1991. From 1982 to 1991, he was also a permanent conductor at the Semperoper Dresden and Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden.

He was music director (1986–1995) and principal conductor (1987–1995) of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. In spring 1995, he was appointed a permanent conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra.

In 2005, he was named artistic consultant to the opera division of the New National Theatre Tokyo. He was appointed the artistic director (i.e. Music Director) of the New National Theatre in September 2007. At his death he was the artistic director of Biwako Opera Theatre, and of the Tokyo Chamber Opera Theatre.

Hiroshi Wakasugi held a professorship at Tokyo National University of the Arts and Toho Gakuen School of Music. He was a member of the Japan Art Academy.[1]

Wakasugi was a recipient of the 1986 Suntory Music Award.


  1. "Biography". Retrieved 17 August 2009.
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Zdeněk Mácal
Principal Conductors, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne
Succeeded by
Gary Bertini
Preceded by
Akeo Watanabe
Music Directors, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Gary Bertini
Preceded by
Thomas Novohradsky
Opera Artistic Directors, New National Theatre Tokyo
Succeeded by
Tadaaki Otaka

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