Born in Tokyo, Junichi Hirokami studied conducting, piano, musicology, and viola at the prestigious Tokyo College of Music. He began his conducting career at the age of 26 after winning the first Kondrashin International Conducting Competition in Amsterdam. On the jury was the distinguished pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy who subsequently invited Hirokami to conduct the NHK Symphony Orchestra on a tour of Japan in 1985. The success of that tour was followed by another collaboration with Ashkenazy the following year with the Orchestre National de France.
Since 1990, Junichi Hirokami has appeared as guest conductor with major orchestras throughout the world. He was chief conductor of Sweden’s Norrköping Symphony Orchestra where he recorded for the BIS (Sweden) and Fun House (Japan) labels, toured with the orchestra to Japan, and oversaw the building of a state-of-the-art concert hall.
Hirokami launched his North American career in 1996 with the Toronto Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Dallas Symphony. Other engagements have included Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Seattle, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Calgary and Charlotte. From 2006–08, he served as music director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and in April 2008 he was appointed chief conductor of the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra.
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