Founded in 1961, the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra is the only professional orchestra in Hokkaido, affectionately known as "Sakkyo." The orchestra represents the vast land of Hokkaido with a clear sound and a dynamic and powerful expression.
To date, Honorary Founding Conductor Masao Araya and Peter Schwarz, Hiroyuki Iwaki, Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Tadaaki Otaka, Max Pommer, and Radomil Eliška have all taken active roles with the orchestra. Currently, Matthias Bamert is Chief Conductor, and the orchestra invites Honorary Music Director Tadaaki Otaka, Friendship Guest Conductor Junichi Hirokami, and Shurihito Matsumoto as conductors.
The orchestra gives approximately 120 regular concerts per year, and approximately 50 smaller concerts for educational and social benefit purposes. The orchestra has made overseas tours, visiting the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Korea, Taiwan, and other South-East Asian countries.
The orchestra is also active in recording CDs and has produced Sibelius symphony cycles with Otaka, and Brahms and Tchaikovsky recordings with Eliška. Works by Dvořák, Bach, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Schumann, and R. Strauss were recorded with Pommer, and all have received high acclaim, being featured as recommended recordings by music magazines and newspapers.