The 11th Competition


Gunma Symphony Orchestra

The Gunma Symphony Orchestra (GSO) was established in 1945 in the hope that music would play an important part in raising the spirits of a nation left in a state of devastation after the Second World War. Originally, it started as the "Takasaki Citizens Orchestra" before being renamed the "Gunma Philharmonic Orchestra" the following year – which it held until receiving its current name in 1963. In 2013 the GSO transferred to Public Interest Incorporated Foundation.

In 1955, the film "A Fountain of Music" (KOKO-NI-IZUMI-ARI) was made about the Gunma Symphony Orchestra's story, winning many new fans throughout Japan. The next year Gunma was designated as a "A Musical Model Prefecture," by the Ministry of Education – the first time for such a designation to be bestowed upon a prefecture. The Children's Outreach Concert Series began in May 1947 and, as of 2009, more than 6,000,000 children and students had been given an opportunity to appreciate the orchestra's music. As a result of its effort to hold performances in every part of the prefecture, the Gunma Symphony Orchestra (GSO) has become a symbol of culture throughout Gunma and is widely supported by its citizens.

In 1994, the orchestra received invitations to perform in the Prague Spring International Music Festival and in the Vienna Fine Arts Week. This led to a successful four-country tour under the leadership of Music Director TAKASEKI Ken. The next year, the GSO celebrated its 50th anniversary with a series of performances of Beethoven Symphonies all over Gunma and in Tokyo. In addition, HOSOKAWA Toshio was commissioned to compose a 50th anniversary memorial composition for the orchestra. Entitled,《Landscape for Orchestra II》, it was performed in Tokyo and Gunma Prefecture, receiving high acclaim.

In 2003, as the orchestra celebrated its 400th subscription concert,the story of its foundation was featured by "Project X," a popular documentary of NHK, drawing national attention. Recently,the orchestra has been working hard, continuing its regular subscription concerts, its Outreach Concerts, regional activities and recordings, as well as hands on arts workshops and performances nation-wide in cooperation with the Agency for Cultural Affairs.GSO has started its brand-new era during its 2013-14 season,collaborating with Music Director OTOMO Naoto as a leader of further development of music and performing arts. The orchestra will celebrate its 500th subscription concert in 2014 and 70thanniversary in 2015.