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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.

Leonard Bernstein and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1985

Trio Festivo

Boston Symphony Chamber Players in 1987

Seiji Ozawa

USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra in 1985

The Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra

Amaral Viera in 1994

Chamber Music Series

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

1998   St. Petersburg Camerata of the Orchestra of the State Hermitage Museum



2003   Camerata Lysy Gstaad of the International Menuhin Music Academy

2008   Toulouse Chamber Orchestra

2009   Mnozil Brass



2012   Boston Brass

2012   Czech Phill Brass


2014   Quattrocelli

2016   Gomalan Brass

Orchestra Series

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

2003   Wiener Operettenorchester





2017   City of London Sinfonia and Charlotte de Rothschild

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