Newly appointed 6th Artistic Director of the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra (from April 2023) Kentaro Kawase was born in Tokyo in 1984. He graduated from the art course of the Hachioji Junior and Senior High School, then received a degree in conducting from the Tokyo College of Music in 2007, having studied under Junichi Hirokami, Yasuhiko Shiozawa, Myung-Whun Chung, and others.
With orchestras such as the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, and Japan Century Symphony Orchestra, Kawase captivates audiences across Japan with his ambitious programming and passionate performances. Outside Japan, he also conducts the Orchestre national d'Île-de-France and the United Instruments of Lucilin. His achievements in opera include remarkable performances of Hanjo and Vision of Lear by Toshio Hosokawa, Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Le nozze di Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, and Zauberflöte, and Verdi’s Aida.
Kawase was awarded 2nd Place (the highest award presented that year) at the Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting in 2006. Kawase has received various awards, including the Akeo Watanabe Music Foundation Music Award in 2015, Future Award of the 64th Kanagawa Cultural Award, the 14th Hideo Saito Memorial Foundation Award in 2016, the 26th Idemitsu Music Award, and the 65th Yokohama Culture Award's "Culture and Arts Encouragement" Award.
In 2011 he became Conductor of the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra before going on to become their Resident Conductor, and in 2014 he was appointed Resident Conductor of the Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra as well. Currently, he is Resident Conductor of the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra and Permanent Conductor of the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, in addition to being a Goodwill Ambassador of Inabe City in Mie Prefecture and a visiting lecturer of the Faculty of Composing and Conducting at the Tokyo College of Music.
After serving as Assistant Conductor at PMF 2007, ’08, and ’09, this is his fourth appearance at PMF.