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Conductor Nobu Yasuda inspired by students' desire to learn

“You should have a dream but just do your daily stuff, your basic stuff. If you do that, you might get somewhere. But if you don’t do that, you won’t get anywhere. Every day, do your humble work. I go to a cafe and study scores for 3-4 hours every day. That’s the only way I can maintain my skill. If you have a vision, somehow people will recognize you.” 

Nobuyoshi Yasuda, a native of Takarazuka, Japan, holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Soai University in Japan and a Master of Music from Indiana University, Bloomington. Yasuda is the Director of Orchestra and Professor of Violin on our UW- Eau Claire campus. Yasuda has also guest conducted orchestras including the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, La Crosse Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and made his international conducting debut in Germany with Das Philharmonie Orchester des NDR-Hannover in May 2003 and in March 2004, a Japanese debut with the Osaka Philharmonic. Yasuda’s reputation as a teacher and a conductor has led him to be invited as a conductor of the Wisconsin High School State Honors Orchestra, the Illinois All State High School Orchestra, the Alaska All State High School Orchestra, the North Dakota All State High School Orchestra, allowing him to reach aspiring young musicians on occasion as well. Yasuda also was granted the unique experience of being appointed as the conductor for the 2022 NAfME All-National Symphony Orchestra.  

Before the 2022 event, Yasuda was appointed conductor for the 2020 NafME All-National Symphony Orchestra two years prior. During this time of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the event was completely virtual. “They said you have to rehearse this orchestra with 100+ students and I could not hear or see them during the rehearsals. I asked myself, how do I rehearse that?” The virtual rehearsals lasted two days, and during these rehearsals, Yasuda had to create a lesson plan for assessment purposes without being able to see or hear the orchestra students. After this unorthodox rehearsal process, a video was then created by NafME of the students performance, which made the experience very rewarding for Yasuda. “When I watched it, I thought to myself, although we are all kicked inside the house, music is still happening. I saw those faces and I was so happy. I don’t hope that this thing happens again but I’m glad that I was able to be a part of this online and virtual honor’s orchestra event.” 

After the pandemic subsided, in 2022, Nobu was chosen again for the long-waited in-person NafME National Honors Orchestra event, and was very eager and excited to conduct in-person. “I couldn’t believe I was chosen for this, it’s a really big deal. I don’t promote myself or introduce myself at conventions. The orchestra scene is a bit more closed than band and choir, as those professors are going to meet people all the time. I don’t really know anybody but somehow they knew me.” 

Selected students from around the nation gathered at the Minnesota Convention Center on a weekend in November from Thursday to Sunday. Yasuda was inspired by the talented high school students stating, “They are like a sponge and just keep getting better.” These selected students chose to come to this event and their dedication and passion was seriously shown for those few days during those few days, he explains. “They just want to work harder to get to a high level. Some sections started working together on breaks and it was a beautiful scene. I realized that these five trombone players just met yesterday and now they are really starting to enjoy becoming a trombone section, as well as building strong friendships and a team.” This experience conducting the National Honors Orchestra inspired Yasuda to want to continue teaching at the middle and high school level. “Kids are kids. If you teach them fundamental musical skills or plant the seed of a love for music, they will grow to be amazing musicians.”

Pictured is Yasuda from the concert, wearing Japanese festive attire as he programmed one Japanese piece and wanted to dress for the occasion.