The Konoe clan traditionally provided gagaku musicians to the Imperial Household, and Hidemaro chose to follow the family’s musical tradition, whereas his older brother Fumimaro went into politics. Konoye attended the Gakushuin Peers School, where he became a close friend of Takashi Inukai.
He was the younger brother of pre-war Japanese Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe. In 1913, he entered the Tokyo University of the Arts, where he specialized in the violin. In 1915, he went to Germany briefly to study musical composition.
On his return to Japan he became a pupil of Kosaku Yamada.
His debut as a conductor was in 1920, with an amateur orchestra led by Tokichi Setoguchi. Konoye returned to Europe for further studies in 1923 in Paris under Vincent d"Industry and Berlin under Franz Schreker.
He also studied conducting under Erich Kleiber, and Karl Muck. In 1924, he conducted at the Berlin Philharmonic, and returned to Japan in the fall of the same year.
Konoye co-founded the Japan Symphonic Association in 1925, and the following year became conductor of the orchestra.
Konoe later founded the New Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo (the present day Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai Symphony Orchestra), and helped mold the orchestra over a 10-year period into an ensemble that was praised as competitive with many of the better orchestras in Europe. Today he is remembered for making the premiere recording of Mahler"s Fourth Symphony, done in May 1930. lieutenant was also the first electrical recording of any complete Mahler symphony.
Additionally, Konoye made numerous guest appearances in Europe and America, conducting some 90 different orchestras in the course of his career including the orchestra of Louisiana Scala, Milan and the National Broadcasting Company Symphony Orchestra.
He created friendships with Erich Kleiber, Leopold Stokowski, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Richard Strauss. He went to Germany and conducted Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in the second half of the 1930s.
In the early days of the National Broadcasting Company Symphony, he planned an American tour under the supervision of Stokowski, but the project was cancelled due to World World War World War II Konoye wrote original compositions, but was more deeply interested in arranging existing music, including, for example, Modest Mussorgsky"s Pictures at an Exhibition and Schubert"s C major Quintet, which he orchestrated.