Saito Kinen Orchestra is numbered 19th in the countdown of 20 best orchestras based on Gramophone magazine. Based in Japan, Saito Kinen Orchestra was formed in 1984 and is already one of the best orchestras in the world.
Saito Kinen Orchestra is considered one of the youngest orchestra in the 20 best orchestras in the list. Founded to commemorate Hideo Saito, a respected Japanese music pedagogue and also the co-founder of a renown music school Toho Music School, Saito Kinen Orchestra was founded in 1984 and consists best Japanese musicians who is directly or indirectly affiliated with Hideo. They were at some point students and/or teachers in Toho Music School, and now are soloist, chamber musicians and also players They gather 2-3 weeks a year to participate in Saito Kinen Orchestra, a gathering once a year.
Led by Seiji Ozawa since the very beginning, Saito Kinen Orchestra is the center piece of Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto, which was started in 1992. For the quality and also the distinctive sound of the orchestra, Saito Kinen Orchestra gained reputation in other countries, including those in Europe and America. In 1987, they made their first tour to the hearts of classical music in Europe, Vienna, London, Berlin, Paris and Frankfurt. In 1991, they debuted in Carnegie Hall to open its 101th season.
Saito Kinen Orchestra is one of the youngest orchestra in the list and the only orchestra which comes from Asia. Saito Kinen Orchestra is also one of two festival orchestras in the top 20 list and is still led by Maestro Seiji Ozawa despite of his ill-condition recently.