“The intensity prevailed from beginning to end, throughout this milestone account [of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder] conducted by Eiji Oue. His musicians were absolutely devoted, producing the highest standard of execution that we can recall from the Orquesta Simfonica de Barcelona. He conducted this extremely complex music from memory and interpreted it with great power.” (El Mundo Cataluña)
Born in Japan, Eiji Oue began his musical studies with piano lessons at the age of 4. At 15, Oue entered the Toho Gakuen School of Music as a performance major, beginning his conducting studies that same year with Hideo Saito, the teacher of Seiji Ozawa. In 1978 he was invited by Ozawa to spend the summer studying at the Tanglewood Music Center where he met Leonard Bernstein, who became his mentor and colleague. They shared the podium on three international tours with concerts at La Scala, Vienna State Opera, Opera de Paris-Bastille and in Moscow, St Petersburg, Berlin, Rome and other musical capitals. In 1990 he assisted Bernstein in the creation of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, serving as resident conductor for the Festival Orchestra.
Eiji Oue is Conductor Laureate of the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, having served as Music Director from 2003-2011, and Conductor Laureate of the NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Hannover, following eleven years as their Principal Conductor (1998-2009). He has also held the positions of Music Director of both the Minnesota Orchestra (1995-2002) and the Orquesta Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya (Barcelona Symphony Orchestra) (2006-2010). Alongside these posts, he served as Music Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming from 1997 to 2003, and was the driving force behind founding one of the Festival’s most beloved events, the annual outdoor Fourth of July community concert. In addition to his directorship of this festival, his summer engagements in the US have included appearances at the Ravinia, Tanglewood, Grand Park, Wolf Trap, Round Top and Midland music festivals.
Eiji Oue has guest conducted throughout the United States, working with the most prestigious orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Detroit, St. Louis, Montreal and Toronto. In Europe he has conducted the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the symphony orchestra of the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, the Oslo Philharmonic, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, National Orchestra of Spain, Swedish Radio Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, and the orchestras of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and WDR Cologne. In 2005 he made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival conducting Tristan und Isolde.
Highlights of recent seasons have included an extensive world tour celebrating the centenary of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, tours to Japan and South America with the NDR Philharmonic, debuts with the Orquesta Sinfonia Brasileira, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, and the Shanghai and Guangzhou symphony orchestras, and performances with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Vienna Tonkuenstler Orchestra, the MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon, and the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, as well as a production of Die Fledermaus at Tokyo’s Nikikai Opera. In the 2014/15 season and beyond, he makes his debuts with the Malaysian and Belgrade philharmonic orchestras, and returns to conduct the Sao Paolo Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano, and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, amongst others.
Eiji Oue has recorded extensively with the Minnesota Orchestra in repertoire including Bernstein, Stravinsky, Mahler, Strauss, Copland, and Rachmaninov. With the NDR Hannover he has recorded the music of Antheil, Martinu, Schnittke, and Strauss’s orchestral songs with soprano Michaela Kaune, and for DG he recorded the violin concertos of Paganini and Spohr with Hilary Hahn. He has a particular passion for working with young musicians and since 2000 has been Professor of Conducting at the Hochschule fuer Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover. Among his numerous honours and awards are the 1980 Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood and both first prize and the Hans Haring Gold Medal at the 1981 Salzburg Mozarteum conducting competitions. In November 2005 he received the Praetorius Music Prize from the state of Lower Saxony and the Lower Saxony Order of Merit in 2009.