While he was still in school in Japan, Yutaka Sado acquired an assistantship with the Kansai Nikikai, a Japanese opera company, where he had the opportunity to work with the New Japan Philharmonic and the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra while learning operatic repertory. In 1987 he traveled to the United States on a fellowship to the Tanglewood Music Festival, where he studied with Seiji Ozawa, and won the Davidoff Special Prize at a competition inRead more Schleswig-Holstein. He returned to Japan as assistant to Ozawa, and made his debut with the New Japan Philharmonic; he then studied with Charles Dutoit, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, and Leonard Bernstein. He served as Bernstein's assistant on a tour of Germany and the Soviet Union. In 1990 he became a regular participant in the Pacific Music Festival of Sapporo, Japan. His debut outside Japan was conducting at the 39th annual International Young Conductors' Competition in Besançon, France in 1989, where he took first prize.
In 1993 he worked with the Orchestra of Bordeaux-Aquitaine, where he drew the attention of members of the long-established Orchestra des Concerts Lamoureux of Paris, who extended an invitation to conduct. "At first the sound was horrible," he admitted in an interview, "but the musicians immediately responded to my instructions. We understood each other immediately. We did not know each other and yet it was like finding a very close friend again." The concert by the unknown and youthful Japanese conductor was an unexpected success. Parisian critics threw away all reserve, writing of his "charisma" and "authority" and referring to his "sunlike radiance" and the "magnificently controlled fury" of his performance. "The orchestra has found its energy again," one wrote. The orchestra had also found its next principal conductor, a post Sado assumed in 1993. Sado centers his repertory on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, from the time of Strauss, Mahler and Franck to that of Ravel, but his total repertory is very wide, mingling all periods and styles. He has stressed the history of the Lamoureux Orchestra in building its programs, presenting famous works it premiered over its 12-decade life from the pens of such composers as Fauré, Saint-Saëns, Franck, Chabrier, Dukas, Debussy, Ravel, Roussel, Ibert, and others.
In June 1995 the Syndicate of Professional Drama and Music Critics of Paris awarded him the prize as "Musical Revelation of the Year." In the same year he won the First Prize in the Leonard Bernstein Competition of Jerusalem. This was shortly followed by his recording Bernstein's Third Symphony ("Kaddish") and Chichester Psalms.
He has conducted widely in France, including the French Radio Philharmonic, the National Orchestra of France, and the orchestras of Lyons, Monte Carlo, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeux, and Lille. He has also conducted the principal orchestras of Stuttgart, Zürich, Jerusalem, Budapest, the Hague, Bratislava, and Prague. He led the Lamoureux's first recording of the digital age, a well-received all-Ibert disc for Naxos, and planned a series of "Lamoureux Premiere" recordings. Read less