Born in 1947, Tadaaki Otaka appears regularly with major Japanese orchestras and has been invited as a guest conductor to the London Symphony, the BBC Symphony, the City of Birmingham Symphony, and the Berlin and Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestras. He received the Suntory Music Award in 1991 and an Honorary Fellowship from the Welsh College of Music and Drama as well as an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Wales in 1993. In 1997, he was awarded the CBE, and in 1993 also became the first Japanese ever to receive the Elgar Medal. In 2012, he was awarded the Arima Prize from the NHK Symphony Orchestra.
He is now the Music Director of the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, Permanent Conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the New National Theatre, Tokyo, and Conductor Laureate of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (formerly the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra). Otaka is a Professor at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and a Visiting Professor at Soai University and the Kyoto City University of Arts. With the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra he has led successful tours in South Korea (2005) and Europe (2011). Otaka has appeared with the orchestra at PMF 23 times since 2000.