Renowned for his ‘extraordinary interpretations’ (La Nacion) and his ‘trademark good humour […] and great energy’ (BackTrack), Eiji Oue has conducted many of the world’s finest orchestras throughout his career, including the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, and the Munich Philharmonic. Oue is currently Conductor Laureate of both the Osaka Philharmonic, having served as its Music Director from 2003-2011, and the NDR Radio Philharmonic in Hanover, following an eleven-year tenure as Principal Conductor (1998-2009). He has also held the positions of Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra (1995-2002) and Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (2006-2010). As previous Music Director of Wyoming’s Grand Teton Music Festival (1997-2003), Oue was the driving force behind the founding of one of the festival’s most beloved events, its annual outdoor Fourth of July Community Concert.
Recent and forthcoming highlights include an extensive world tour celebrating the centenary of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra; tours to Japan and South America with the NDR Radio Philharmonic; a cycle of Leonard Bernstein and American repertoire with the Wroclaw Philharmonic; engagements at the renowned La Folle Journée festival in Warsaw, and with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic, Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI in Turin, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, Bern Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon, Orquesta de Valencia, Belgrade Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife, Sao Paolo Symphony, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, RTE National Symphony, Orchestre National de Lyon, and the Buenos Aires Philharmonic in Teatro Colón. In 2019-2020, he continues his regular work with the Osaka Philharmonic and conducts a new production of Orphée aux Enfers with the Nikikai Opera in Tokyo.
Oue recorded extensively with the Minnesota Orchestra in repertoire including Bernstein, Stravinsky, Mahler, Strauss, Copland, and Rachmaninov. With the NDR Hanover, he has recorded the music of Antheil, Martinů, Schnittke and Strauss’ orchestral songs with soprano Michaela Kaune, and for Deutsche Grammophon he recorded the violin concertos of Paganini and Spohr. Other collaborators include Sarah Chang, Hilary Hahn, Nemanja Radulović, Fazil Say, Midori, Nelson Goerner, Emmanuel Ceysson, Nicolas Altstaedt, Stephen Kovacevich, David Fray, Roger Muraro, and Trio Jean Paul.
Passionate about music education and stewarding the next generation of musicians, Oue is Professor of Conducting at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hanover, a post he’s held since 2000. Amongst his many honours and awards are the 1980 Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood and both first prize and the Hans Harin Gold Medal at the 1981 Salzburg Mozarteum conducting competitions. In November 2005 he received the Praetorius Music Prize from the state of Lower Saxony and the Lower Saxony Order of Merit in 2009.
Born in Hiroshima, Japan, Oue began piano lessons at the age of four, eventually entering the Toho Gakuen School of Music as a performance major where he began his conducting studies with Seiji Ozawa’s teacher Hideo Saito. In 1978, he was invited by Maestro Ozawa to spend the summer studying at the Tanglewood Music Center. It was there that he met Leonard Bernstein, who became his long-time mentor and colleague. They shared the podium on three international tours with concerts at Teatro alla Scala, Wiener Staatsoper, Opéra de Paris, and in Moscow, St Petersburg, Berlin, Rome, and other musical capitals. In 1990 he assisted Bernstein in the creation of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, serving as resident conductor for the Festival Orchestra.