Cincinnati Symphony Welcomes AZ Opera's Keitaro Harada as Associate Conductor
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra announced that Keitaro Harada will join the CSO staff as Associate Conductor beginning in September 2015. Mr. Harada's duties will include assisting the conductors of the CSO, Cincinnati Pops and May Festival, conducting for all Young People's Concerts, the World Piano Competition, as well as select Lollipops, Pops subscription concerts and other local/regional performances, and representing the Orchestra in community engagement initiatives.
This week Harada leads the Arizona Opera's season finale, La fille du régiment with performances in Tucson Music Hall on April 18 & 19. Harada's appearance this past weekend in Phoenix was a triumph with Opera Today raving, "Right from the opening notes of the overture, the audience knew that conductor Keitaro Harada was putting his individual stamp on this piece. He combined Donizetti's delightful melodies with dramatic musical coherence. His dynamic range was huge and he kept the playing transparent so that listeners heard all the melodic strands in the fabric of the score."
Hailed by Broadway World magazine as "one of the most talked-about young conductors in the U.S.," Mr. Harada is a two-time recipient of The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, granted to exceptional young conductors to help develop their professional careers.
A Tokyo native, Mr. Harada was one of only six conductors selected by the League of American Orchestras for the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, spotlighting gifted, emerging conductors, and has quickly become an emerging force on the international music scene.
A former student under such greats as Lorin Maazel, Robert Spano, and Michael Tilson Thomas, Mr. Harada has stood out from very early in his career. "When we were looking for From the Top alumni to feature during our 10th-anniversary season, 25-year-old Keitaro Harada rose quickly to the top of the list," said Christopher O'Riley, host of the NPR program who first met Mr. Harada as a teenager studying at Interlochen Arts Academy.
Since then, Mr. Harada has served as Associate Conductor of the Arizona Opera, Associate Conductor of Richmond Symphony and Music Director of the Phoenix Youth Symphony. He has also been the Principal Guest Conductor of the Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra, where his leadership was praised by Sierra Vista Herald reporter Bill Hess: "What is appreciated is conductor Keitaro Harada's relationship with the orchestra players brought out the best in them."
"Harada, a conductor of growing talent and infectious showmanship, coaxed an informed, passionate and exciting performance from his musicians," said classical music critic Cathalena E. Burch of the Arizona Daily Star. "He's a bundle of energy at the podium, directing the musicians with technical proficiency and an unbridled passion."
Conductor Keitaro Harada continues to be recognized at the highest levels for his artistic abilities and passion for musical excellence. As a recipient of The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award (2014 and 2015), Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview (2013), the Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellowship at Tanglewood Music Festival, a student of Lorin Maazel at Castleton Festival and Fabio Luisi at Pacific Music Festival, Mr. Harada's credentials are exemplary.
Mr. Harada is also Associate Conductor of Richmond Symphony through the 2015/16 season and Associate Conductor of the Arizona Opera, where he leads their current production of La fille du régiment and is engaged to return to conduct Carmen in 2016.
"Kei is an exceptionally talented musician as well as a gracious colleague. This new post is an affirmation of his many talents on and off the podium. The entire Board and staff of Arizona Opera couldn't be more proud to be a part of his continuing success!" said Arizona Opera General Director Ryan Taylor.
The 2014-15 season held Mr. Harada's conducting debut in Japan with New Japan Philharmonic in a sold out performance. He also ?conducted performances with Tucson Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, ?Virginia Symphony, Sierra Vista Symphony, Orquesta Filarmónica de ?Sonora and numerous performances with the Richmond Symphony.
In 2013, Mr. Harada was selected by the League of American Orchestras as one of only six conductors for the Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, a prestigious showcase that occurs biennially in an effort to promote gifted, emerging conductors to orchestra industry leaders. In 2012, Mr. Harada was a semi-finalist at the 9th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors in Poland. In 2011, Mr. Harada was one of ten semi-finalists invited by Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony to participate in the First Chicago Symphony Orchestra Solti International Conducting Competition and he made his professional opera conducting debut with North Carolina Opera.
Early in his career, Mr. Harada served as Music Director of the Phoenix Youth Symphony. During his tenure, ?he elevated the organization's profile, expanded their season, added challenging repertoire, and took the ?symphony on a European performance and education tour that culminated with a master class on the main ?stage of the Berlin Philharmonic.
Mr. Harada has also studied under Christoph von Dohnányi, Robert Spano, Michael Tilson Thomas, Oliver Knussen, Herbert Blomstedt, Adrian Gnam and Stefan Asbury. He has been the Principal Guest Conductor for Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra since 2009, is a three-time winner of the International Conductors Workshop and Competition in Georgia, received an Honorable Mention in the International Academy of Advanced Conducting in St. Petersburg, Russia, and was a semi-finalist for the 2009 Eduardo Mata International Conducting Competition in Mexico City, Mexico.
Mr. Harada champions creative programming, development of the orchestra as a part of a community's cultural fabric, advancement of each musician he encounters, and responsibility as an artistic and civic leader. A native of Tokyo, Japan, he is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and Mercer University. He completed his formal training at University of Arizona with Thomas Cockrell and Charles Bontrager. Very early in his career, he was selected as a guest artist for National Public Radio's From the Top and is featured as a favorite guest alumnus on their PBS television documentary. Arizona Public Broadcasting produced a documentary on the bright career of Keitaro titled: "Music...Language Without Words" for the television series AZ Illustrated in 2013.
He will relocate to Cincinnati in the new season.