Passionate about the arts from a young age, Michiyoshi Inoue began piano lessons very early and studied ballet for ten years before deciding, at the age of 15, to pursue a career as a conductor. On entering the renowned Toho Gakuen School of Music, he studied with the late Hideo Saito, one of the country’s most prominent music scholars and mentor to conductors such as Seiji Ozawa, Hiroshi Wakasugi and Kazuyoshi Akiyama.
Mr. Inoue’s professional career began in 1970 when he was named Associate Conductor to the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. A year later, the critical acclaim following his first prize at the Guido Cantelli Conducting Competition in Milan brought him to the attention of the international music scene, and he has been a familiar face on podiums all over the world ever since.
From 1977 to 1982 Mr. Inoue was Principal Guest Conductor at the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, leading them to participate in the 1980 Hong Kong Music Festival. A year after leaving New Zealand, he was appointed Music Director of Tokyo’s New Japan Philharmonic, where he remained until 1988. It was during these years that he made a name for himself within the genre of opera. His many successful productions included the Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy as well as Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Mascagni’s Iris. In 1986, he was given the honour of conducting the inaugural concert at Suntory Hall. Mr. Inoue was the Music Director of the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra between 1990 and the spring of 1998, leading them in May 1997 on a highly successful tour of Europe including much acclaimed performances at the Prague Spring Festival.
Invited to conduct the most prestigious orchestras all over the world, Mr. Inoue has collaborated in Germany with the orchestras of Berlin (RIAS), Hamburg (NDR), Stuttgart (SDR), Baden Baden (SWDR), Cologne (Gurzenich), and the Dresden Philharmonic. Elsewhere in Europe, he has performed with ensembles including Orchestre National de France, Opera de Marseille, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Dublin, Royal Philharmonic Flanders Orchestra, La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquestra Gulbenkian (Portugal), Orquestra Sinfonica de RTVE (Madrid), Leningrad Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Hungary State Symphony Orchestra. Each season, Mr. Inoue is invited back to orchestras in many cities, where he has, with his engaging personality and energy, won the affection and respect of musicians and audiences alike. Recent engagements have seen him perform with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Romania National Radio Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, KBS Symphony Orchestra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra and at the New National Theatre Tokyo, etc.
His concerts with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and Gidon Kremer, his interpretation with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra of Mahler’s 9th symphony in 1993, and a year later the 4th with soprano Sylvia McNair have won particular acclaim. During the 1999 and 2000 seasons, Mr. Inoue embarked on a challenging ten-concert Mahler series with the New Japan Philharmonic at Sumida Triphony Hall, Tokyo, resulting in what was hailed as “the highest level of Mahler performances ever to be heard in Japan.” His CD recordings of Mahler’s 4th, 5th and 6th symphonies with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra received similarly high praise, as did the live recording of the world premiere of Thierry Eschaich’s Vertiges de la Croix, performed with the Orchestre National de Lille in June 2004 and released on Universal Music.
One of Mr. Inoue’s daring projects began in April 1999 when he conducted a new production of Puccini’s Turandot, a co-production between Bunkamura and the Edinburgh Festival. Audiences at the festival were enchanted by this refreshing interpretation and in Japan fans were treated to performances at Bunkamura for two consecutive years in April 2000 and 2001. At the head of the New Japan Philharmonic, he has begun a series of concerts entitled “Concert Opera”, with productions including Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci in September in 2000; Korngold’s Die tote Stadt in 2001, and with R. Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos in 2002.
He conducted Shostakovich Symphonies intensively in Russia, Romania and Japan in 2006/07 and 2007/08 seasons, including the realization of a complete Shostakovich Symphonic Cycle in Tokyo from November to December in 2007 with five Russian and Japanese orchestras including the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and the New Japan Philharmonic.
From 2007 to 2018, he was engaged as Artistic Adviser of the Ishikawa Ongakudo and as Music Director of the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, with which he very successfully toured Europe in the summer of 2008. Also, from 2014 to 2018 he served as the Principal Conductor of the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra.
The highlights of Mr. Inoue’s recent activities since his return after a rest because of serious illness include the general direction of the new production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro: What The Gardener Saw in collaboration with the stage director Hideki Noda in 2015 (successful fourteen concerts in ten cities in Japan) and the general direction (including the staging) of the theater piece of Bernstein Mass for the 55th Osaka International Festival 2017. Mr. Inoue’s Box-set Complete Shostakovich Symphonies at Hibiya Public Hall (twelve CDs), released at the end of February 2017 and sold out immediately, won the Special Prize of the Special Category of the prestigious 55th Record Academy Award 2017.