日本語 / English
In November 1945, Takasaki City Orchestra was established with the aim of assisting reconstruction through culture, amid the postwar devastation. It was renamed Gunma Philharmonic Orchestra in 1946, then the Incorporated Foundation Gunma Symphony Orchestra in 1963, and the Public Interest Incorporated Foundation Gunma Symphony Orchestra, its present name, in 2013.
The school concert held by the Gunma Symphony Orchestra (GSO) started in May 1947, and by FY2022, it had been appreciated by over 6.46 million pupils and students. Since 1982, the GSO has also held music classes for high school students. In 1955, a film based on the GSO called Koko ni izumi ari (“here is the fountain” in English) was released, attracting nationwide attention. The following year, Gunma Prefecture was designated as the first “music model prefecture” in the country by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture (now the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology). In addition, Takasaki City established the Gunma Music Center in 1961, which served as a hub for the expansion of various activities.
From 1981, the GSO enhanced musical activities with the support of Gunma Prefecture. After being invited to perform at the Prague Spring International Music Festival and the Wiener Festwochen in 1994, the GSO performed in four European countries under the baton of conductor Ken Takaseki, the music director. The following year, the GSO premiered Ferne-Landschaft II by Toshio Hosokawa, a commissioned piece for its 50th anniversary, in Tokyo and Gunma; it received high praise.
In 2001, as an orchestra leading the Japanese music world, the GSO was designated as the support group under the Special Program to Support Artistic Creativity (Arts Plan 21) by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. In October 2003, the early days of the GSO were featured on a television program by NHK called Project X: Challengers, which was received with overwhelming response. In November 2004, GSO held its traveling music class to welcome Japan’s Imperial Couple and Denmark’s Queen and Crown Prince as guests. In April 2005, it performed the opening theme for NHK’s morning TV drama series Fight, which was highly acclaimed. In March 2006, to celebrate its 60th anniversary, the GSO performed in Gunma and Tokyo. And at its 500th subscription concert in June 2014, the GSO received great applause from the packed audience. When it marked its 70th anniversary in 2015, the GSO performed a number of gala performances at subscription concerts and opera performances.
As it expands its variety of musical activities, such as subscription concerts and outreach concerts, the GSO has been widely supported by the citizens of Gunma Prefecture. In 2020 it celebrated its 75th anniversary. Having moved its base to Takasaki City Theatre, which opened in September 2019, the GSO aims to further progress and improve its musical abilities under the baton of Principal Conductor Norichika Iimori.
1966 Asahi Bright Society Award, The Asahi Shimbun
1983 Regional Cultural Merit Group Award, Minister of Education
1989 11th Award of Folk Culture Commemorating Yuzo Yamamoto
1994 Japan Inter-Design Award
1995 Special Award for the fourth Japan Creation Award
2003 Kanto and Koshinetsu Regional Broadcast Culture Award, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)
2017 Award at the Prefectural Art Festival Commemorating the 40th Anniversary
2021 Suntory Prize for Community Cultural Activities