The Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra was formed under the name of Miyagi Philharmonic Orchestra in 1973 as an amateur community-based orchestra. It held its first subscription concert the following year. Following its incorporation as an incorporated association in 1978, the Miyagi Philharmonic Orchestra became a full-fledged professional orchestra and attracted attention for its remarkable growth under the guidance of the late Yasushi Akutagawa, who served as General Music Director between April 1983 and January 1989, Yuzo Toyama, who was Music Director between April 1989 and March 2006, and others. The orchestra was renamed the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra in a nod to their home city in 1989, and after converting to an incorporated foundation in 1992, it continued to forge great achievements, including winning the Kahoku Culture Award in 1999 and their first overseas concert tour, which took in Vienna, Rome, and three other cities in Europe in 2000. The orchestra was converted into a public interest incorporated foundation under authorization of the Miyagi Prefectural Government in 2010, and celebrated its 40th anniversary in March 2013.
The current Chief Conductor is Pascal Verrot, the Principal Guest Conductor is Kazuhiro Koizumi, and the Music Partner is Kazuki Yamada.
The Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra presents a total of 18 subscription concerts in nine different programs each year in the Concert Hall in the Sendai City Youth Cultural Center. In the 250th subscription concert held in October 2010, they performed Palléas et Mélisande by Claude Debussy led by conductor Pascal Verrot and received tremendous reviews. In addition to this series of subscription concerts, they perform about 110 concerts a year, including special concerts, concerts by request, and concerts for school children, mainly in eastern Japan. For the Sendai International Music Competition, they have been serving as the host orchestra since the first competition in 2001. They also play a central role as a performer in the Sendai Classical Music Festival, which is widely known as “Sen-Cla,” and thus are contributing greatly to the promotion of music culture in their home city, Sendai.
Although the great earthquake in March 2011 compelled the orchestra to cancel most of its concerts for a few months, members have been cooperating with the Center for Recovery through the Power of Music and—under the slogan “Linking hearts, Joining hands”—the orchestra is engaging in various activities aimed at developing and maintaining strong ties with residents affected by the disaster through music. In recognition of these dedicated activities, they received the Western Classical Music prize at the 2011 ExxonMobil Music Awards as well as the WATANABE Akeo Music Foundation Special Support. In March 2013, they presented concerts in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg in Russia upon request of the Japan Foundation to represent the disaster-stricken areas to express Japan’s gratitude for support extended by Russia and the world after the disaster. During these concerts, the orchestra was also able to show how they had been supporting disaster victims through music in areas where the reconstruction is underway, and they thus fulfilled this important mission successfully.