Principal Conductor of Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, April 1999 - Principal Guest conductor of Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, April 2001 - Ryusuke Numajiri won the 40th Besançon International Conducting Competition (1990), an honor that catapulted him to the forefront of the classical music world.
Born in Tokyo in 1964, Ryusuke Numajiri studied the piano and conducting at the prestigious Toho Gakuen School of Music. His teachers included, amongst others, Seiji Ozawa and Tadaaki Otaka. While still a student, and until his departure to study with Hans-Martin Rabenstein at the Berlin University of Fine Arts and Music, Numajiri acted as assistant to Seiji Ozawa at the New Japan Philharmonic.
Numajiri's international performances have gained the attention of audiences, critics and orchestras alike. He has thus far conducted the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, Odense Byorkester (Denmark), Northern Sinfonia (England), Staadtskapelle Weimar, Augsburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Chambre de Paris, Northern Sinfonia and the Haifa Symphony Orchestra (Israel). In 1998, at the invitation of Elena Rostropovich, Numajiri led the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Guiseppe Verdi in performances at the Evian Festival. Most recently in his international activities, after a successful debut engagement with the London Symphony Orchestra in October 1998, he was immediately re-engaged for another performance in January 1999; during his second engagement, EMI recorded his performance of Gubaidulina’s Concerto for Cello, 2 Percussion and Chorus with Mstislav Rostropovich as the soloist.
In addition to Rostropovich, with whom Numajiri also performed during the Shostakovich Festival presented by the New Japan Philharmonic, he has collaborated with other renowned artists including Anne-Sophie Mutter, Zoltan Kocsis, Bruno-Leonardo Gelber, Jean-Philippe Collard, Karl Leister, Michel Béroff, Cyprien Katsaris, and Frank Peter Zimmermann.
In Japan, as of April 1999, Numajiri has been Principal Conductor of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and is a popular guest conductor with the other major Japanese orchestras. From 1993 until early 1998, he held the post of Chief Conductor of the Japan Shinsei Symphony Orchestra; he was the youngest ever to be appointed to the position. During his tenure there, he led the orchestra on a successful tour through Europe (May 1995), and the Asahi Shimbun claimed that Numajiri's conducting is remarkably refreshing! His 1995, 1996 and 1998 recordings of Toru Takemitsu’s works (Denon) have been highly praised as those of a young conductor not to be missed.
In 1995, Numajiri founded the Tokyo Mozart Players and performed with them regularly in Tokyo. As an opera conductor, Numajiri made his Japanese début in October 1997, with Mozart’s Der Entführing aus dem Serail, followed by continuous opera engagements featuring Le nozze di Figaro, Il barbiere de Seviglia, Cinderella, La Bohéme and Hansel und Gretel, each of which were met with outstanding reviews. In the 2000/01 season his appearances included productions of L’elisir d’amore, Der Geburtstag der Infantin (Zemlinsky), and Le Rossignol (Stravinsky). Numajiri conducts the Opera for Young People series at Biwako Hall which was built in 1998.
Numajiri is also widely known as both a talented pianist and composer and has developed a special interest in conducting contemporary music. His passion has led to his conducting the Japan-premiere performances of works by Górecki, Ligeti and Lutoslawski (1994 and 1996), Berio (1995), Dutilleux (1997), and Mathews (1998), and to his receiving praise from each of these composers, who have talked of his impeccable understanding of their works. He was invited to join the jury of the Masterprize International Composing Competition (England) in January 2001. In addition, Numajiri is scheduled to conduct the Japan première of Busoni's Piano Concerto and Doktor Faust, with Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. In the 2001/02 season, he is scheduled to conduct many subscription concerts with some of the major Japanese orchestras such as Tokyo Philharmonic, Sapporo Symphony and Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as overseas, with Tonhalle Orchester Düsseldorf and with Berliner Symphoniker.
Ryusuke Numajiri currently bases his activities in both Tokyo and Berlin.