Sapporo Symphony Orchestra (Sakkyo) was founded in 1961 with a strong vision of local companies and organizations to establish a professional orchestra on the island of Hokkaido. The orchestra was led by Masao Araya (1961-1968), Peter Schwarz (1969-1975), Hiroyuki Iwaki (1975-1988), Kazuyoshi Akiyama (1988-1998), Tadaaki Otaka (1998-2015) and Max Pommer (2015-2018). The current Chief Conductor Matthias Bamert was inaugurated in April 2018.
The orchestra made its first overseas tour to the U. S. and Germany with Schwarz, and Iwaki expanded the orchestra"s repertoire to introduce works by Japanese composers, including Toru Takemitsu"s "RAN" soundtrack. During Akiyama"s tenure, the orchestra visited South Asia twice and performed with a clear sound and a dynamic, powerful expression which represented the vast land of Hokkaido.
Otaka has worked more than 25 years with the orchestra and has been its Music Director from 2004 until March 2015. The orchestra made successful tours to the U. K. (2001), South Korea (2005), Europe - Germany, U. K. and Italy (2011) and Taiwan (2015). The repertoire became more diverse during his tenure with newly started Sakkyo Chorus. The new program included "The Sakkyo POPS" and "Modern Concert" for wider audiences, "Discovery Concert" for younger children, and "Junior Classics" for school students, and more people could enjoy the fullness of classic music.
Sakkyo is also actively presenting recordings for general sales and private commissions which now total nearly 55 CDs.