Hidemaro Konoye

In this Japanese name, the family name is Konoye.
Hidemaro Konoye

Konoye Hidemaro in 1939 signed photo from Hamburg Philharmonic
Native name 近衞 秀麿
Born Hidemaro Konoye
(1898-11-18)18 November 1898
Kojimachi-ku, Prefecture Tokyo City,  Japan, (Now Tokyo, Chiyoda-ku)
Died June 2, 1973(1973-06-02) (aged 74)
Noge, Setagaya, Tokyo
Other names Maestro
Alma mater Tokyo Imperial University, Faculty of Arts dropout
Occupation Conductor, composer, music arranger
Years active 1920–1973
Known for Classical Music
Children Hidetake Konoe
Tadatoshi Miyagawa
Relatives Tadamaro Miyagawa (brother)
Naomaro Konoye (brother)
Fumimaro Konoe (brother)

Viscount Hidemaro Konoye (近衛 秀麿 Konoe Hidemaro, 18 November 1898 – 2 June 1973) was a conductor and composer of classical music in Shōwa period Japan. He was the younger brother of pre-war Japanese Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe.


Konoye was born in Kōjimachi, Tokyo as the younger son of Duke Konoe Atsumaro, scion of one of the Five regent houses of the Fujiwara clan. The Konoe clan traditionally provided gagaku musicians to the Imperial Household, and Hidemaro chose to follow the family's musical tradition, whereas his older brother Fumimaro went into politics.

Konoye attended the Gakushuin Peers School, where he became a close friend of Takashi Inukai. In 1913, he entered the Tokyo University of the Arts, where he specialized in the violin. In 1915, he went to Germany briefly to study musical composition. On his return to Japan he became a pupil of Kosaku Yamada.[1] His debut as a conductor was in 1920, with an amateur orchestra led by Tokichi Setoguchi. Konoye returned to Europe for further studies in 1923 in Paris under Vincent d'Indy and Berlin under Franz Schreker.[2] He also studied conducting under Erich Kleiber, and Karl Muck. In 1924, he conducted at the Berlin Philharmonic,[3] and returned to Japan in the fall of the same year.

Konoye co-founded the Japan Symphonic Association in 1925, and the following year became conductor of the orchestra. Konoe later founded the New Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo (the present day NHK Symphony Orchestra), and helped mold the orchestra over a 10-year period into an ensemble that was praised as competitive with many of the better orchestras in Europe.[4]

Today he is remembered for making the première recording of Mahler's Fourth Symphony, done in May 1930. It was also, aside from a cut in the third movement, the first electrical recording of any complete Mahler symphony.[5]

Hidemaro Konoye (1960)

Additionally, Konoye made numerous guest appearances in Europe and America, conducting some 90 different orchestras in the course of his career including the orchestra of La Scala, Milan and the NBC Symphony Orchestra. He created friendships with Erich Kleiber, Leopold Stokowski, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Richard Strauss. He went to Germany and conducted Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in the second half of the 1930s. In the early days of the NBC Symphony, he planned an American tour under the supervision of Stokowski, but the project was cancelled due to World War II.[6]

Konoye wrote original compositions, but was more deeply interested in arranging existing music, including, for example, Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Schubert's C major Quintet, which he orchestrated.

Major works

Notable recordings



  1. http://web02.hnh.com/composer/btm.asp?fullname=Konoye,%20Hidemaro
  2. Lebrecht, Norman (1992). The Companion to 20th-Century Music. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 188. ISBN 0-306-80734-3.
  3. Morreau, Annette (2002). Emanuel Feuermann. Yale University Press. p. 80. ISBN 0-300-09684-4.
  4. 樂評人 David Hall 在他的權威著作 "The record book : a music lover's guide to the world of the phonograph" ( 1943年版), 曾經對近衛秀磨這一款錄音有以下之評語:
  5. 1 2 Smoley, Lewis M. (1996). Gustav Mahler's Symphonies: critical commentary on recordings since 1986 (first ed.). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 93. ISBN 0-313-29771-1.
  6. http://homepage2.nifty.com/stokowski/konoye/index.html
Preceded by
Permanent Conductors, NHK Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Joseph Rosenstock
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