Internationally acclaimed for his electrifying stage presence and his thoughtful exploration of Eastern and Western artistic legacies, Singaporean-born Kahchun Wong is the Chief Conductor of Japan Philharmonic Orchestra and the Principal Guest Conductor of Dresdne Philharmonie. He will succeed Sir Mark Elder as the newly appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Hallé from 2024/25.
In his final appearance as Chief Conductor of Nürnberger Symphoniker in summer 2022, Wong led the successful world premiere of his orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition to an audience of 75,000 at the annual Klassik Open Air in Luitpoldhain. This sinfonia concertante version, specially composed for folk instrumental soloists from Singapore Chinese Orchestra, was also widely broadcast on 3SAT and BR-Klassik.
Since winning the Mahler Competition in 2016, Wong has guest conducted distinguished orchestras such as New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, the Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. Highlights of his 2023/24 season include debuts with London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and China NCPA orchestras, as well as returning to Seattle Symphony Orchestra with Mahler’s Symphony No.3 and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9. He will also additionally lead the Hallé on a tour to Spain in January 2024.
Wong has forged strong relationships with many living composers. In 2023/24, he will conduct the UK premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s Prayer with BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican, as well as the world premiere of Thai composer Narong Prangcharoen’s Reflection of Shadow, commissioned specially for his inaugural concert as Principal Guest Conductor at Dresdner Philharmonie. He has led the world premiere of Reena Esmail’s Concerto for Hindustani Violin written for the renowned guru Kala Ramnath with Seattle Symphony Orchestra in 2022, as well as the US premiere of Tan Dun’s Fire Ritual with New York Philharmonic in 2019. In his Suntory Hall subscriptions with Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, he regularly programmes works by composers such as Akira Ifukube, Yasushi Akutagawa, Kiyoshige Koyama and Yuzo Toyama. At the invitation of the Tokyo Opera City Foundation, he has led a highly successful performance of Toru Takemitsu's ambitious orchestral cycle Arc, which was selected as one of the top contemporary concerts of 2022 by major Japanese critics.
Wong has enjoyed strong collaborations with soloists such as Nelson Freire, Thomas Hampson, Barbara Hannigan, Gerhard Oppitz, Christian Tetzlaff, Patricia Kopatchinskaya, Gautier Capuçon, Daniel Lozakovich, Mao Fujita, Sergei Nakariakov, and Vilde Frang.
In December 2019, Wong became the first artist from Singapore to be conferred the Order of Merit by the Federal President of Germany for his dedicated service and outstanding achievements in Singaporean-German cultural relations and the advancement of German musical culture abroad.