Music Director Shoichi Sean Kubota

©Todd Rosenberg
©Todd Rosenberg

"Precise conducting - exceptional musicality" Chicago Crusader 

A Tokyo native, Shoichi Sean Kubota was chosen out of 225 applicants from 40 countries on five continents as the winner of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s (CSO) First International Sir Georg Solti Conducting Competition and Apprenticeship in 2011 and subsequently served as CSO’s conducting fellow under the direction of its Music Director, Riccardo Muti. 

Mr.Kubota has conducted numerous premier ensembles throughout the world including Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Sofia, Orchestra della Toscana, PMF Orchestra(Sapporo), and Spring Festival in Tokyo Ensemble. His guest conducting mentors have included Hugh Wolff, Marin Alsop, Leonard Slatkin and Kurt Masur.

During his tenure with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Mr.Kubota had the opportunity to work closely with distinguished conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Bernard Haitink, Charles Dutoit and Edo de Waart on more than 30 programs and accompanied them on their domestic as well as international tours. In the 2012-13 season, he coached musicians of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago as part of CSO’s River Project with the famed cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, serving as its producer. As part of the program, Mr. Kubota made his Chicago debut conducting Beethoven's 6th Symphony to a packed house, which resulted in a standing ovation. 

Also active as an operatic conductor, Mr.Kubota has studied Così fan tutte, Cavalleria Rusticana, Tosca, Suor Angelica, Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Giangluigi Gelmetti at Accademia Musicale Chigiana and Rome Opera House. In the summer of 2010, Mr. Kubota made his operatic debut in Tokyo conducting Così fan tutte with New Chamber Orchestra of Tokyo. Later, he studied Otello, Simon Boccanegra, Macbeth,  and Nabucco with Riccardo Muti at CSO and Rome Opera House and conducted a backstage ensemble as Muti’s assistant. In 2013-14, as part of the Verdi’s bicentenary year season, he continued to work closely with Muti at Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Kubota is a strong proponent of music education and community service through music. In 2010, with the support of Japan Foundation New York (JFNY),
he produced a ‘side-by-side’ concert in which professional musicians and local high school students joined forces to perform Joe Hisaishi's film compositions as part of an effort to introduce and spread awareness of the Japanese culture. Orchestrada, an orchestra based in Tokyo that Mr. Kubota serves as music director, regularly invites and in its relatively short history already has brought to its performances more than five hundred individuals who are blind, disabled, ill or otherwise usually unable to attend such concerts. He hopes to continue building relationships with welfare facilities in Tokyo to find various ways to present music to a wider demographic.

Mr. Kubota received his Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting in 2005 from The Juilliard School studying with Otto-Werner Mueller and Professional Study Diploma from the Mannes College of Music in 2007 studying with David Hayes. He received numerous awards during his studies such as S&P Stanley scholar, N.T. Milani scholar, Mary Power award and Bruno Walter award. During the past summer seasons, he has appeared as a fellow conductor at Accademia Musicale Chigiana studying with Gianluigi Gelmetti where he earned the Diploma di Merito and at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen Music Festival studying with David Zinman. He is a 2008-2009 season recipient of the Japanese Government Artist Fund. 

From 2010-2014, Mr. Kubota served as music director of 92Y School of Music Orchestra in New York, which is one of the oldest American orchestras with 100 years of history since 1917. In summer of 2015, Mr. Kubota joined Pacific Music Festival (PMF) as an assistant conductor. From 2017-2019, Mr. Kubota served as chief conductor of Fukushima Philharmonic.  Since 2011, Mr. Kubota is music director of the Orchestrada Tokyo.