Music Director and Conductor 
Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
    This portrait of Yoshimi Takeda appeared in the "Season of the Maestro" brochure that announced
    the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra's 1998-1999 season, which marked his final season as Music
    Director and Conductor.

       Maestro Takeda conducted the opening concert with a semi-staged production of Bizet's Carmen.
       Five guest conductors, finalists in the search for a new KSO Music Director, were engaged for the
       other concerts that season.  Yoshimi Takeda returned to conduct the final concert of the season on
       April 23, 1999. 


      In the years following Yoshimi Takeda's untimely death in 2000, a campaign was launched to 
      raise funds to officially name the performance studio at WMUK-FM The Yoshimi Takeda 
      Performance Studio.

     After the funds were raised and the renovations were completed,  The Yoshimi Takeda
     Performance Studio was formally dedicated at a reception on May 25, 2005.  Pictured here
     are Christopher Takeda and Mary Ellen Takeda at the studio dedication on the campus of
     Western Michigan University.



1976/ TAKEDA/ Marian Anderson/ KSO Bicentennial Celebration/ Kirk Newman Sculpture

1970s - 1990s/ YOSHIMI TAKEDA:  Maestro, Friend, Global Citizen

1975-76/ TAKEDA/ Marian Anderson/ KSO Bicentennial Celebrations/ Kirk Newman Sculpture

Photo presented to Maestro Takeda by Marian Anderson
From the personal library of Mary Ellen Takeda

American contralto Marian Anderson (1897 - 1993) first came to Kalamazoo in the 1930s.  She was 
in town to give a vocal recital.  When she checked into a downtown hotel she was told she had to take the freight elevator to get to her room.  Four decades later, she returned to a city that had changed profoundly in those intervening years.  

In 1975, Marian Anderson was invited by Maestro Yoshimi Takeda and the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra to narrate Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait.  She had retired from singing by that time, yet still appeared in public.

Marian Anderson's brilliant career began in 1925 when she won a singing competition that awarded her
an appearance with the New York Philharmonic. 

Hailed by critics in America, she became the toast of Europe, and toured extensively, giving recitals and
performing in concerts with symphony orchestras.  She was greatly loved by the concert-going public for
her interpretations of classical vocal literature, lieder, opera arias, and traditional spirituals.

Here is Marian Anderson singing Deep River:

The Kalamazoo Symphony concert on October 14, 1975 was headlined by Marian Anderson's moving
narration of Copland's Lincoln Portrait.  This concert was the KSO's 1975-76 season, conducted by newly-appointed Music Director Yoshimi Takeda, who had accepted the position the year before. 

                                -Kalamazoo Gazette (10/5/75)         (click on article to enlarge)

Note:  Alice's Archivist decided to leave in snippets of other articles on the same page as the Takeda
article.  It gives the reader a flavor of what was going on in the arts scene in Kalamazoo in 1975.

                                                                                -From the 1975-76 Kalamazoo Symphony brochure

With a voice that inspired Arthur Rubinstein, Arturo Toscanini and Jean Sibelius, Marian Anderson was already having a great career in Europe when she met American impresario Sol Hurok in 1934.  It was a meeting that proved to be fruitful indeed as Hurok guided and managed her career for the rest of her professional life.  He helped her expand her concertizing in Europe and encouraged her to return to America in 1935.  

Back in the United States, Anderson navigated the troubling landscape of racial prejudice, armed with nothing but a glorious voice and glorious music to sing.  Marian found herself at the center of a sea change in society, with herself as figurehead.  She rose to the challenge, and emerged a true heroine.

Aaron Copland's starkly beautiful Lincoln Portrait for symphony orchestra and narrator was composed in 1942, created to boost morale during World War II.  It intertwines biographical material with famous quotations from Abraham Lincoln's speeches and writings.

                                                                                                                  -Alice's Archivist (2/8/11)

                        Abraham Lincoln spoke in Bronson Park in downtown Kalamazoo in 1856
                                                                                Photo:  Kalamazoo Public Library


1976/ TAKEDA/ Kirk Newman Bicentennial Sculpture Dedication
July 4, 1976
Bronson Park, Kalamazoo, Michigan
A Project of the Religious Congregations of Kalamazoo County
The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Yoshimi Takeda, Music Director and Conductor
The Kalamazoo County Bicentennial Chorus, Thomas Kasdorf, Director





                                    (click on page to enlarge)

              (click on page to enlarge)




                                             Alice and Yoshimi at Gull Lake (August, 1976)

                                                                                                                  -Alice's Archivist (2/3/11) 


1970s - 1990s/ TAKEDA/ Maestro, Friend, Global Citizen

                                                                                                                    Photo:  Carl Bennett
                                                                                                                    Kalamazoo Gazette 10/8/76                                
                        REVIEW PUBLICITY MATERIALS FOR THE 1976-77 SEASON

     If music is the universal language, Yoshimi Takeda spoke it fluently.  Elegant and precise,
     he seemed to dance with his muse while on the podium.  With his perfect timing, technique
     and tempi, he inspired his players to come and join him in play.
     After his conducting debut with the Tokyo Symphony and guest conducting engagements
     with the Japan Philharmonic, Yoshimi Takeda arrived in the USA in 1961 to begin a two-
     year fellowship to work with George Szell, Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra.
     Yoshimi's 1963 debut concert with the Cleveland Orchestra inspired Szell to describe Takeda
     as "a rare specimen... a born conductor".  Yoshimi went on to work with conductors at Tangle-
     wood, including Robert Shaw.

     In 1964, he was hired as Associate Conductor of the Honolulu Symphony, and spent six seasons
     there.  He toured the Hawaiian Islands with the orchestra, and developed educational programs.

     In 1970, Yoshimi went to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to take up the baton as Music Director
     of the Albuquerque Symphony (now called the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra).  When he
     was hired by the Kalamazoo Symphony for the 1974-75 season, he divided his time commuting
     between Michigan and New Mexico.  He would remain as Music Director in Albuquerque for
     ten more years, serving both orchestras concurrently.  His reputation preceded him upon his arrival
     in Kalamazoo.  There were glowing reports of his artistry on the podium, and his down-to-earth
     qualities in dealing with the community and the day-to-day business of being at the helm of a large

     "Takeda's presence made an immediate impact", (Zaide Pixley, GREAT ENSEMBLE, The Story
     of the Kalamazoo Symphony, p. 73).  Critics praised him for inspiring the KSO to achieve higher
     levels of performing excellence.  Gazette music reviewer Dianne Heintz declared Takeda's inter-
     pretation of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition a "milestone" in the KSO's history (Pixley, p. 73)

     Yoshimi had excellent taste in choosing repertoire, and was adventuresome and eclectic in
     building programs for each season.  He hired world-class soloists.  He commissioned new
     works.   He loved singers, and staged operas, performed oratorios and directed gospel choirs.
     He started the "Sunday Classics" chamber orchestra series, and knew the value of educational
     outreach.  Thousands of school children attended the KSO education concerts, and small groups
     of symphony musicians visited them in their schools as well.

      The Summer Park Concert series commenced in 1973, a year before Maestro Takeda came to
      Kalamazoo.  When July of 1975 rolled around and Takeda had been with the KSO for a full
      season, he took up this summer concert series with gusto.  Bronson Park was once again the
      center of summertime symphonic music in Kalamazoo.  Takeda also took the Kalamazoo
      Symphony "on the road' and repeated the Bronson Park program at outdoor venues in area
      communities.  It gave the players a full week of work every July until the late 1990s.

                    Colleagues and Friends:  Yoshimi Takeda and KSO Manager Doug Patti, 1978
               Photographed in front of the fountain in Bronson Park, Kalamazoo (photographer unknown)

     Takeda expanded the orchestra on all fronts:  the size of the orchestra, the number and variety of
     concerts, and performing venues.  He worked on audience development through clever marketing
     techniques.  He had a devoted following among newcomers and seasoned supporters alike, and
     the audiences loved him.  He was Music Director of the Kalamazoo Symphony for 25 years.
     Yoshimi became a legend in his own time.
     A citizen of the world, Yoshimi maintained a busy schedule of guest conducting engagements
     throughout his career with orchestras in Japan, South Africa, Europe and the United States.
     Alice adored Yoshimi, and championed all the things he wanted to do with the Kalamazoo
     Symphony.  She became a personal friend, and drew Yoshi and his family into her social
     circle.  Parties, dinners, receptions and outings were always in the works when Yoshimi,
     his wife Mary Ellen and son Christopher were in town.  Alice was thrilled when the Takedas
     made Kalamazoo their permanent home in 1994.

                    Yoshimi Takeda, Alice Mullen, Christopher Takeda and Mary Ellen Takeda at
                        Yoshimi's Retirement Party at the Kalamazoo Country Club, May, 1999
            When Yoshimi conducted Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Carnegie Hall in 1996, Alice
            travelled to New York to be in the audience.  The concert was a joint venture promoting
            Japanese and American friendship, with university-level players from both countries par-
            ticipating, including Chris and his fellow students from the Juilliard School.

                       ODE TO JOY                              (first verse)  by Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805)
                                                                                (poem completed in 1785, revised in 1803)
          Joy, thou spark from flame immortal,
             Daughter of Elysium!
          Drunk with fire, O heav'n-born Goddess,
              We invade thy halidom!
          Let thy magic bring together  
              All whom earth-bound laws divide;
          All mankind shall be as brothers
              'Neath thy tender wings and wide.
                                                                             (translated by Henry G. Chapman)

      Ludwig van Beethoven began composing his 9th Symphony in D minor, op. 125, "Choral",
      in 1818.  It was completed in 1824.

                                 Yoshimi becomes a United States Citizen on November 9, 1999
           Alice, U.S. District Court Judge Richard A. Enslen, Yoshimi, Chris, Mary Ellen, and Doug Patti              


             For his many accomplishments in his 25 years with the Kalamazoo Symphony, Maestro
             Takeda received the Community Medal of Arts Award in 1988, and honorary doctorates
             from Western Michigan University (1989) and Kalamazoo College (1993).

             In 1999, Yoshimi Takeda retired from the Kalamazoo Symphony.  After valiantly battling
             cancer, his passing in 2000 was a tragic loss to the music world and the community who
             loved him so much.

             Rest in peace, Takeda-san.

                                                                                       YOSHIMI TAKEDA 1933 - 2000
                             Original watercolor by Yoshimi Takeda featured on the cover of the
                                      program for the Memorial Service on August 14, 2000

                               Gary Logsdon, Principal Viola of the New Mexico Symphony
                               Albuquerque, New Mexico, July 26, 2000





   WMUK-FM is owned and operated by Western Michigan University.  It carries NPR programming
   and generously supports the local arts scene.  Kalamazoo Symphony concerts have been taped for 
   re-broadcast since the 1960s.

   WMUK's broadcast facilities on campus include a recording studio.  In 2003, a campaign was
   launched to raise funds to officially name it the "Yoshimi Takeda Performance Studio", in memory 
   of the KSO's beloved Maestro and his contributions to the arts in Kalamazoo and West Michigan.

 TransMission Log, WMUK Newsletter, Summer 2003

       The studio itself was completely renovated, and on May 25, 2005, the new facility, now the 
       "Yoshimi Takeda Performance Studio", was unveiled at a reception for donors and friends.

Christopher Takeda, Mary Ellen Takeda, and Floyd Pientka, General Manager of WMUK