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“I’m not interested in having an orchestra sound like itself. I want it to sound like the composer.”

— Leonard Bernstein

Orchestras are instrumental ensembles that typically contain sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments, and which usually play classical or chamber music. The modern orchestra started to take shape around the middle of the 17th century, and grew in size throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Gradually, composers began to write music with parts for specific instruments and to be more adventurous about combining instruments to get different sounds and tonal colors. A smaller-sized orchestra of around 50 players or fewer is called a chamber orchestra, while a full-size orchestra of about 80 to 100 players is often called a symphony or philharmonic orchestra.

Min-On has hosted a great number of classical music performances, dating back to its inaugural concert at the Bunkyo Kokaido in Tokyo on October 18, 1963, which featured a chorus, a musical ensemble and performances by a leading violinist and cellist. There have also been several regular concert series: the Min-On Subscription Concert Series dates back to the early days of the Association, with a series of exchanges from 1966 with Jeunessses Musicales de France (JMF), beginning with a memorable piano recital by Cécil Ousset. In 1969, the Orchestral Series was inaugurated with a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta.

In the 1980s, the Chamber Music Series was initiated with a performance by Canadian Brass, followed by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Kronos Quartet, and other leading names. The Min-On Subscription Concert series has proven particularly popular with Japanese audiences, and continues to this day.

Orchestral Series

Leonard Bernstein and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1985 Leonard Bernstein and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1985 USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra in 1985USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra in 1985Seiji OzawaSeiji OzawaThe Bruno State Philharmonic OrchestraThe Bruno State Philharmonic Orchestra

1969 Zubin Mehta and Los Angels Philharmonic Orchestra
1975 André Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra
1978 Andrew Davis and Toronto Symphony
1980 Hiroshi Wakasugi and Das Kolner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester
1982 Frantisek Jireck, Petr Bronsky and the Bruno State Philharmonic Orchestra
1985 Leonard Bernstein and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
1986 Gennadji Rozhdestvensky and U.S.S.R. Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra
1989 Herbert Kegel and Dresden Philharmonic
1990 Hiroshi Wakasugi and Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich
1992 Zdenek Macal and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
1994 Junichi Hirokami and Norrkoping Orchestra
1995 The Orchestra of the Tchaikovsky Central Special Musical School of the Moscow State Conservatorium
1996 Jerzy Swoboba and the Silesian Philharmonic
1997 Central Radio Orchestra of China in 1997
2001 Myung-Whun Chung and Asia Philharmonic Orchestra
2001 Sir Roger Norrington and SWR stuttgart Radio-Symphony Orchestra
2002 Wiener Strauss Capelle
Wiener Operettenorchester

Chamber Music Series

Boston Symphony Chamber Players in 1987 Boston Symphony Chamber Players in 1987 Amaral Viera in 1994 Amaral Viera in 1994Trio Festivo Trio Festivo

1980 Canadian Brass
1987 Boston Symphony Chamber Players
1989 Brodsky String Quartet
1989 Kronos Quartet
1992 Davos International Music Festival Ensemble
1993 Hungary Gypsy Ensemble
1994 Wiener Waltz Ensemble
1995 Trio Festivo
1995 Polish Ensemble
1996 Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne
St. Petersburg Camerata of the Orchestra of the State Hermitage Museum
2003 Camerata Lysy Gstaad of the International Menuhin Music Academy