The Berliner Philharmoniker are sad to hear of the death of Kunio Tsuchiya, who was a member of the orchestra for more than four decades. Born in Tokyo in 1933, he first played the koto, a traditional Japanese zither, before changing to the violin and later the viola. For a short time, Kunio Tsuchiya was a member of the NHK Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and in 1959 was accepted into the viola section of the Berliner Philharmoniker, the first Japanese musician in a German orchestra.
His membership fitted into the then developing friendship between the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Japanese public and was also considered an important stimulus for classical music in Japan. In addition to his performances with the orchestra, Kunio Tsuchiya was a member of the Philharmonic Octet from 1967 to 1975, before retiring in 2001. Kunio Tsuchiya died shortly before his 90th birthday.