This year’s Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSO) concert in Japan marks one of the last chapters of their collaboration with current maestro Bertrand de Billy.

Artistic director and chief conductor de Billy will leave his position this summer, according to the Vienna RSO. Cornelius Meister, who is currently directing an orchestra in Heidelberg, Germany, will replace him in autumn.

De Billy is one of the leading conductors in the world. Before he began conducting, he studied and played the violin and viola in various orchestras, such as the Orchestre Colonne. In 1989, he became the assistant of conductor Pierre Dervaux and soon began a career as a conductor.

Since its formation, the Vienna RSO had focused mainly on contemporary music. It had also developed a repertoire of preclassical and avant-garde music, while being led by various great conductors. Under de Billy’s guidance, this did not change. He has emphasized classical, romantic and 20th century music.

De Billy has conducted operas in different theaters, including the Royal Opera House in London, Opera National de Paris and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. With his experience, the Vienna RSO, which holds regular performances in Vienna’s historical Theater an der Wien, has established a reputation as a first-class opera orchestra.

De Billy has prepared two programs for this Japan tour. On March 5 and 6, the orchestra will play French and Spanish compositions, such as Manuel de Falla’s 2nd Suite from the ballet “El Sombrero de Tres Picos.” The orchestra will also play a well-known guitar tune, “Concierto de Aranjuez,” by Joaquin Rodrigo with harpist Xavier de Maistre from The Vienna Philharmonic. On March 7, the orchestra will play Ludwig van Beethoven’s masterpieces from their hometown: Overture from “Egmont” and Symphonies No. 5 and No. 6. Beethoven’s symphonies are among the pieces that de Billy has regularly conducted for years.

The Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra performs March 5 at 7 p.m. in Tokorozawa Civic Cultural Center Muse and March 6-7 at 2 p.m. in Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall. For more information, please visit www.koransha.com

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