Joji Hattori is one of the leading Japanese musicians of his generation and has enjoyed a very varied career as a musician, firstly as a concert violinist, an activity which has developed into directing chamber orchestras, conducting symphony orchestras and finally operas. Hattori has just been appointed Principal Guest Conductor and Co-Artistic Director of the Balearic Symphony Orchestra in Palma de Mallorca. He also continues his work as Associate Guest Conductor of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, a position which he has held since 2004. From 2007 to 2008 Joji Hattori served as Principal Resident Conductor of the Opera House in Erfurt, Germany and from 2009 to 2011 as Music Director of the open-air Summer Festival at Schloss Kittsee, Austria. Joji Hattori is also Music Director of the Tokyo Ensemble, a project-based chamber orchestra in Japan.
As guest conductor he regularly works with many distinguished orchestras such as the Philharmonia Orchestra London, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Slovakian Philharmonic or the Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra Japan and has worked with renowned soloists including Maria João Pires, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Piotr Anderszewski. In 2009 he made his debut at the Vienna State Opera with three performances of The Magic Flute, conducting in fact the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the pit. He has also conducted repeatedly at the New National Theatre Tokyo which is Japan’s leading opera house.
He was born in Japan and spent his childhood in Vienna where regularly attending the opera house and concert halls formed his musical development. Influenced by both cultures, Hattori is today one of the very few musicians of Asian heritage who is respected internationally for his interpretation of the Viennese Classics. He started playing the violin at the age of five and studied at the Vienna Academy of Music, followed by further studies with Yehudi Menuhin and Vladimir Spivakov. In 1989 he won the International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition in England. After a decade of international activities as a violin soloist, he turned to conducting and in 2002 participated at the inaugural Maazel-Vilar Conductor’s Competition where he was given a major award. Lorin Maazel enabled him to give his conducting debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall and continues to support his career.
Apart from his performing activities, he is President and Member of the Jury of the International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition and in 2003 he was made Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, London. Having studied social anthropology at Oxford University (St. Antony College), he also continues to research the questions around the national identity of human beings.
Photo (c) by Jeff Mangione