Music and Artistic Director of the Savannah Philharmonic and Associate Conductor of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra Keitaro Harada has received his fifth Sir Georg Solti Career Assistant Award. The Solti Foundation U.S. previously presented Harada with the honorable award in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2020.
Upon receipt of The Sir Georg Solti Career Assistance Award, Harada is recognized on both a national and international level as one of 15 prestigious young conductors selected as the recipient of the Sir Georg Solti Career Assistance Award.
“The Solti Foundation has been very supportive for young professionals whose careers are based in the U.S. Georg Solti, legendary conductor for the Chicago symphony and his late wife, really championed and gave opportunities for young musicians by supporting them financially. It’s a tremendous honor; I have been so lucky to be able to receive it five times now; it’s quite the honor,” Harada said.
Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Harada started as a saxophonist. At Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, a high school for arts, he was first introduced to conducting. After graduation, he studied in the U.S. and Russia to gain knowledge and the experience to conduct a professional orchestra.
After high school, Harada attended the University of Illinois and then transferred to Mercer University. During his second year of college, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Macon Symphony Orchestra in Macon, Georgia.
“Georgia is my home away from home because I spent my undergraduate and graduate years in Georgia and in Macon,” Harada said.
Harada’s appointment as Music & Artistic Director at the Savannah Philharmonic was a pivotal starting point in his career that allowed him the opportunity to further explore conducting and music on a professional level.
“It’s great that I’ve received this award this time around, having started my tenure with Seitaro Harada Savannah Philharmonic because they have seen what our activities have been since the pandemic started,” added Harada.
There is a lot of exciting and creative new energy and new faces at the Savannah Philharmonic. Despite the decline in live orchestra performances over the past year due to challenges of the pandemic, they kept persevering, performing all while ensuring proper safety precautions were adhered to. A sold-out concert hosted at the Trustees’ Garden, “For the Love of Strings,” featured a 360-degree seating arrangement where patrons could sit anywhere to feel comfortably spaced out. The organization continues to experiment with different ways to experience a concert.
“We just keep trying to be innovative and do things that others have never done,” Harada said.
Savannah Philharmonic’s upcoming events feature a quartet performance on June 12th at Chippewa Square, free to the public, as well as a fun way to celebrate Father’s Day on June 20th with a family outdoor concert and food trucks at Trustees’ Garden called “Phil the Garden.” The June 20th event is a concert plus an arts and crafts event for kids; tickets $10. Children will make an instrument with Telfair Museums staff, and then they will have the chance to play them with the orchestra.
Phil the Garden concert: savannahphilharmonic.org/event/phil-the-garden-with-the-savannah-philharmonic