John Williams – Tokyo – September 2023

After the concert announced a few months ago, that John Williams will conduct on September 2nd at the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival (read more), now we’ve learnt that he will also be in Tokyo on September 5th.

John Williams - Tokyo - September 2023


There he will share the podium with Stéphane Denève, to conduct the Saito Kinen Orchestra in a very special concert in: the “Deutsche Grammophon 125th Anniversary Special Gala Concert”.

John Williams - Tokyo - September 2023


Official description:

Deutsche Grammophon 125th Anniversary Special Gala Concert

John Williams visits Japan for the first time in 30 years.

Performed with the Saito Kinen Orchestra, Japan’s world-renowned orchestra.


Deutsche Grammophon is the world’s oldest classical music label, founded in 1898 by Emil Berliner, a German-born American who invented and patented the disc phonograph (the prototype of today’s records).


To date, he has built artistic relationships with some of the greatest artists in classical music, including Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, and Anne-Sophie Mutter, and in recent years has collaborated with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This led to John Williams, who has published four works conducting the Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Recording Arts Orchestra.


The label, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year and plans to hold commemorative concerts around the world, has decided to hold a gala concert at Suntory Hall in Japan as well.


The foundation of this performance was a memorial concert held in 1984, 10 years after the death of the late Hideo Saito, a great educator and one of the founders of Toho Gakuen, at the idea of ​​his disciple Seiji Ozawa, in which over 100 students gathered together. The Saito Kinen Orchestra is an orchestra that was born as an orchestra, and currently plays a central role in the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival, along with general director Seiji Ozawa.


The featured artist is a legendary composer/conductor who has won 5 Academy Awards, 25 Grammy Awards, and 4 Golden Globe Awards as a leading figure in film music and concert music. John Williams presents a program of songs he has composed so far. Stéphane Denève, who is the music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the artistic director of the New World Symphony Orchestra, and a long-time friend of John Williams, is a world-renowned conductor who will also be the principal guest conductor of the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra from 2023. Deneve will also conduct.


John Williams has been a close friend of Seiji Ozawa since the days when he was the 13th music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and held the Tanglewood music festival in western Massachusetts, and he visited Japan to perform in 1993. This will be their first performance in Japan in 30 years. Stéphane Denève is highly trusted by John Williams, having served as the conductor for John Williams’ official birthday gala concert celebrating his 90th birthday in 2022 with the Washington National Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared at the Ozawa Matsumoto Festival twice in the past, and is a conductor with close ties to the Saito Kinen Orchestra.


Please take a look at the miraculous collaboration between the Saito Kinen Orchestra, one of Japan’s world-class orchestras, and the great John Williams and Stéphane Denève.



[First half: Stéphane Deneve conductor]

  • Sound the Bells!
  • Tributes! (for Seiji)
  • Suite from Far & Away
  • Symphonic Suite from ET the Extra-Terrestrial
    • Three Million Light Years from Home
    • Stargazers
    • Flying Theme

[Second half: Conducted by John Williams]

  • Superman March (from the movie “Superman”)
  • From the movie “Harry Potter” / Three Selections from Harry Potter
    • Hedwig’s Theme (from the movie Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)
    • Fawkes the Phoenix (from the film Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets)
    • Harry’s Wonderous World (from the film Harry Potter the Philosopher’s Stone)
  • Theme from Schindler’s List (from the movie “Schindler’s List”)
  • From the movie “Star Wars” / Three Selections from Star Wars
    • The Rebellion is Reborn (from the movie “Star Wars: Episode VII: The Last Jedi”)
    • Princess Leia’s Theme (from the movie “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope”)
    • Throne room and Finale (from the movie “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope”)


  • When: Scheduled to start at 19:00 on Tuesday, September 5, 2023
  • Where: Suntory Hall Large Hall (1-13-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8403)
  • Link with more information and tickets (20.000 – 50.000 JPY / 126-315€):


UDPDATE (5/9/2023): Deutsche Grammophon’s digital platform STAGE+ will offer a deferred streaming broadcast of the concert. Read more here: