Kazushi Ono is convinced that music has the power to bring people together.

Principal conductor of the OBC since September 2015, in his first season he made his début in the city in a spectacular concert in Gaudi’s majestic temple La Sagrada Familia. In April 2015, Ono returned to his home city to become Music Director of Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, taking responsibility for leading the institution’s artistic development and raising its international profile. Alongside his engagements in Tokyo and Barcelona, Kazushi Ono will continue to fulfil his position in the Opéra national de Lyon where he was appointed as principal conductor in September 2008. While in Lyon, he attracted international critical acclaim with landmark performances of works such as Prokofiev’s The Gambler, Berg’s Lulu and Wagner’s Parsifal.

Le Figaro describes him as ‘one of the most fascinating musical minds of our era’. He has been invited to perform at many of the world’s iconic opera theatres including New York’s Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Deutsche Staatsoper and the Opéra de Paris. His exceptional abilities as an orchestral conductor have been refined by the combination of his permanent posts and guest engagements with symphony orchestras, including the BBC, City of Birmingham, Boston, Montreal, London, Vienna Radio, Leipzig Gewandhaus and philharmonic orchestras, among others, Israel, Oslo and Radio France. Kazushi Ono’s discography reflects the breadth of his repertoire. His arias album made with Joyce DiDonato and the Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Lyon, received a coveted Grammy Award in 2012. The conductor’s work was honoured again in 2014 with his Glyndebourne Festival account of Ravel’s L’heure espagnole and L’enfant et les sortilèges which secured Gramophone’s Opera Award.

Jan Willem de Vriend established the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam and is currently the chief conductor at the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra in Enschede. As of the 2015-2016 season he has also been principal conductor at Het Residentie Orkest of The Hague. In addition, De Vriend regularly conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestras, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Vienna Symphonic Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, NDR Symphony Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He has conducted operas in Schwetzingen, Lucerne, Strasbourg and Barcelona. In the near future he shall also be conducting the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Bergen Philharmonic and the National Orchestra of Flanders.

In 2012 Jan Willem de Vriend won the prestigious Dutch ‘Radio 4 Prize’, which is awarded to a musician who has distinguished him/herself in bringing classical music to a broad public. In 2015 he was invited to conduct the Christmas matinee concert with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, broadcast to twenty-six countries. Of his many recordings, highlights include the complete symphonies of Beethoven with the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra in Ensconce and his work on several television programmes.