Karajan-Akademie (photo: Peter Adamik)

Karajan Academy

Nodoka Okisawa and the Karajan Academy

Nodoka Okisawa is a young conductor at the beginning of an international career, assistant to Kirill Petrenko and scholarship holder at the Karajan Academy. In this concert she presents Francis Poulenc’s Sinfonietta and Richard Strauss’ suite Le bourgeois gentilhomme, two works full of charm and wit as well as Dai Fujikura’s flue concerto.

Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker

Nodoka Okisawa conductor

Ruofan Min flute

Francis Poulenc


Dai Fujikura

Flue Concerto (orchestra version from 2015, revised 2016)

Ruofan Min flute

Richard Strauss

Der Bürger als Edelmann, orchestral suite, op. 60

Postponed from 13 February

Dates and Tickets


Nodoka Okisawa

Nodoka Okisawa played piano, violoncello and oboe before training as a conductor at the Tokyo University of the Arts and the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin. Born in 1987 in Aomori, Japan, the Berlin native attended master classes with Kurt Masur as well as Neeme and Paavo Järvi. In 2018, she won the Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting, one of the most important international conducting competitions, before being awarded the “Grand Prix” as well as the Orchestra and Audience Prize at the renowned Concours international de jeunes chefs d'orchestre in Besançon the following year. A momentous event, as Okisawa subsequently received “the wonderful opportunity” to “work with great musicians as a scholarship holder at the Karajan Academy and as assistant to Kirill Petrenko”. What she has been able to learn from him so far? “Something very important: I've learned that sincerity and openness move people much more than an autocratic style of leadership.” Nodoka Okisawa has conducted several renowned Japanese orchestras, including the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. In November 2021, she took the podium of the Munich Symphony Orchestra and the Orquesta de València for the first time. In March 2022, she conducted the Solidarity Concert for Ukraine with members of the Berlin Philharmonic at the invitation of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Bellevue Palace.

Ruofan Min

In its 50-year history of success, the Karajan Academy offers outstanding young musicians the opportunity to perfect themselves in a community of top performers such as the Berliner Philharmoniker. Flutist Ruofan Min, born in China in 1994, has also been an academy member since 2020: “I will definitely remember this time as a highlight in my life. I am very proud to be able to play and learn with such talented academy members and the wonderful musicians of the Berliner Philharmoniker.” Min, who studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music as well as in Hamburg and Basel, has always been fascinated by the sound of the flute: “When I was a child, I listened to my father play the flute every day.” Ruofan Min grew up with classical music, “especially the works of Ravel, Mozart and Johann Sebastian Bach. You can play works from different eras on the flute in different timbres. I love experimenting with timbres,” says the young musician. In January 2024, he will take up his position as principal flutist in the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra: “There are so many wonderful colleagues there, most of whom have studied in Europe, which is why the level is very high. I've noticed that many more young people in China like classical music than before, and of course I'm very happy about that.”


The Karajan Academy is the Berlin Philharmonic's talent factory. It was founded in 1972 by the then principal conductor Herbert von Karajan to train the next generation of outstanding musicians by giving them individual and chamber music lessons from members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. In addition, they participate in rehearsals and concerts of the orchestra and thus have the opportunity to learn from the top musicians and gain concert practice. In addition, the Karajan Academy organises its own concert series in which the sponsored students perform music from the baroque to the avant-garde under the direction of renowned conductors such as Reinhard Goebel, Susanna Mälkki, Marc Minkowski, Enno Poppe or Matthias Pintscher. The joint performance with the respective artist in residence of the orchestra as well as the monthly carte blanche concerts, in which the scholarship holders present themselves as soloists or in an ensemble, are also part of the Academy's training programme. The aim of the promotion of young talent is to train young orchestral musicians who will find employment either with the Berliner Philharmoniker or with other world-class orchestras. Around a third of today's Berlin Philharmonic musicians have emerged from the Karajan Academy.

Karajan-Akademie (photo: Peter Adamik)