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Maestro Kent Nagano Awarded Order of the Rising Sun Back

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On Sunday, December 7, Maestro Kent G. Nagano, Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, at a conferment ceremony held at the official residence of the Consul General of Japan in San Francisco. He was among the recipients of the “2008 Fall Conferment of Decoration” announced by the Japanese government on November 3. The ceremony was attended by over 80 guests including Maestro Nagano’s family members and friends.

In his congratulatory remarks, Consul General Yasumasa Nagamine recognized his extraordinary contribution to the promotion of cultural exchange through music. He emphasized that, while Maestro Nagano throughout his long and distinguished career was never obliged to introduce the work of Japanese musicians and composers, this is precisely what he tried to do, by working with Japanese musicians, collaborating with traditional Japanese instrumentation and often including works by Japanese composers in his repertoire. Consul General Nagamine also mentioned that, in addition to promoting Japanese music to the world, Maestro Nagano made great efforts to help popularize classical music in Japan by leading internationally renowned orchestras and symphonies on tours of Japan.

Then the Consul General presented the Patent of Decoration and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette to Maestro Nagano, who told the audience that he was deeply honored to receive the decoration not only for himself, but for the world of classical music and for his family as well. Mr. Karsten Windt, first violinist of the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra Berlin, then played a short piece by Johann Sebastian Bach in honor of his former conductor, after which Mr. Jeff Leiter, former Mayor of Berkeley, and former President of the Berkeley Symphony and a friend of Maestro Nagano, gave a few congratulatory remarks. Mr. Leiter talked about the quality of his friend’s character; his commitment to the Japanese-American community through his support for the Manzanar project; and for his work with environmental causes. Finally a toast was offered by a long-time friend of Maestro Nagano: Nobel Laureate and former Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley, Dr. Donald Glaser.

Maestro Nagano will retire at the end of the 2008/9 season, after having been with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra for the last 30 years. He is concurrently General Music Director of the Bayerische Staatsoper and the Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

Name: Mr. Kent G. Nagano
Title: General Music Director, Bayerische Staatsoper 
Music Director, Montreal Symphony Orchestra
Music Director, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra
Current Address: San Francisco, California
Type of Order: Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette
Accomplishment: Contributed to the promotion of musical exchange between Japan and the United States, and to the development of musical culture in Japan. (click here for details)

For more information, please contact Vice Consul Ken Sakaguchi at the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco. Tel: (415) 777-3533 ext. 412

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