Japanese-American conductor Kensho Watanabe recently completed his tenure as the inaugural Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music, under the mentorship of Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Equally at home on both operatic and symphonic podiums, Kensho is quickly being recognized as an engaging and versatile conducting talent.  


In 2014, Kensho made his debuts with the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montréal and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, as well as a repeat appearance with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and Ballet in their productions of Nutcracker. With the Curtis Opera Theatre, Kensho has led productions of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Viktor Ullman’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis.  He has also served as an assistant conductor on many other Curtis Opera productions, most notably Ariadne auf Naxos, Gianni Schicchi, and Faust. 


Future engagements include assisting Yannick Nézet-Séguin on Strauss’ Elektra with the Montréal Opera, and cover conducting assignments with the Minnesota Orchestra and San Diego Symphony.  Kensho has previously served as a cover conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony in C.  


Cognizant of the importance of the training and development of young musicians, Kensho has served on the staff of the Greenwood Music Camp since 2007, and currently serves as the Orchestra Conductor.  He also performs regularly with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a substitute violinist.  


Kensho is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Conducting, where he studied with distinguished conducting pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller.  Additionally, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Yale College, and a Master of Music in Violin from the Yale School of Music.