Morihiko Nakahara, Music Director


The 2021-2022 season marks Morihiko Nakahara’s 14th season as Music Director of the South Carolina Philharmonic, and the three-year renewal of his contract through 2024/2025. He is also Resident Conductor of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, Nakahara serves as Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Added to his wideranging activities with these orchestras, Nakahara also guest conducts with other orchestras throughout the country.

Known for his charismatic presence on and off the podium, innovative and audience-friendly programming skills, and thoughtful interpretations of both standard and contemporary repertoire, recent guest conducting engagements include appearances with the Buffalo Philharmonic, symphonies of Oregon, Jacksonville, Charleston, Chattanooga, Stockton, Lansing, Peoria, and Green Bay, as well as with the Chicago Pro Musica.

Equally at home in a wide variety of musical styles and concert formats, Nakahara has collaborated with Chris Botti, Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, Edgar Meyer, Brandi Carlile, Pink Martini, Sergio Mendes, and Roby Lakatos to name a few. A tireless champion for the music of our times, Nakahara recently led world premieres of works by Joan Tower, Dan Visconti, and John Fitz Rogers, and has led numerous U.S. premieres of works by Japanese composers. A passionate believer in audience development and music education for all, Nakahara is a popular clinician, guest conductor, and lecturer at various educational institutions. As a personable ambassador for classical music, he is regularly featured on local media outlets and speaks about wide-ranging topics including arts advocacy, leadership and management, and economic development at local businesses and service organizations.

A native of Kagoshima, Japan, Nakahara holds degrees from Andrews University and the University of Cincinnati CollegeConservatory of Music. He previously served as Associate Conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Holland Symphony Orchestra (Michigan), and served on the faculty at Eastern Washington University and Andrews University. Nakahara, his wife Lesley Hogg, and their cats Rosina and Figaro reside in Northampton, MA.

Stay in touch with Nakahara via Twitter and Instagram