Orchestras the world around are busy now announcing their sparkling new musical seasons for the coming year. Every announcement promises new and exciting programmes and events to entice their musical audiences.
We could do no less.
We launch the Tokyo Sinfonia’s Sinfonia Plus series of champagne concerts with our long-awaited return to Oji Hall, the splendid Sinfonia-sized concert hall in Ginza in the heart of Tokyo. Oji Hall has undergone a lengthy period of renovation, and we will be back again on the familiar stage we know and love.
The featured soloist for the Oct. 31st Sinfonia Plus programme is Montreal Symphony Orchestra solo concertmaster Richard Roberts, making a return appearance on this series following a spectacular debut with the Tokyo Sinfonia last year. Roberts has chosen a rich program of violin showpieces by Antonin Dvorak (Czech), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Austria), Pablo de Sarasate (Spain), and Henri Vieuxtemps (France). Plus encores.
The Sinfonia Plus champagne concert series continues with special programmes featuring soprano Misaki Morino of Vienna Jan. 25 & 27, bass-baritone Johann Schram-Reed of Reykjavik Apr. 13, and pianist Sara Buechner of Mozart fame in June/July, about whom more later. The champagne reception in the lobby afterward offers everyone a relaxed opportunity to mingle, take photos, and share their joy, their thoughts and their feelings with the performers.
Our perennially popular series of National Serenade dinner-concerts at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan is also looking forward to a change of stage. The FCCJ is moving its premises — journalists, press conferences, dining room and all — to a new location in the Marunouchi Nijubashi Building. We have just had a first look at he site (still under construction) where we are scheduled to perform, and the venue will simply be gorgeous.
The theme for the National Serenade programme Nov. 16 is a Czech Serenade, with a menu of traditional Czech favourites: Goulash soup, Caraway Roast Pork with Knedliky Dumplings & Sauerkraut, and Apple Strudel with Whipped Cream. The matching musical programme includes selections by Czech composers Antonin Dvorak, Karl Stamitz and Josef Suk.
The National Serenade dinner-concert series continues with an English Serenade Feb. 15, presented with a typical English menu and music by Edward Elgar, Arthur Sullivan and Ralph Vaughan Williams, a Latin-American Serenade May 17, with a South American menu and music by Carlos Chavez, Ignacio Cervantes and Heitor Villa-Lobos, and a (North) American Serenade Aug. 9, wth a robust American menu and music by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and George Gershwin.
The FCCJ’s cash bar will be available throughout the evening, and the fascinating people seated all around you at the tables are always fascinating to meet and free to chat. Our players will say hello too.
SYMPHONIES FOR STRINGS
Our many dedicated music lovers will be thrilled with the Dec. 16 Symphonies for Strings programme offering a fascinating exploration of works by the great German composer Robert Schumann. Our music director has chosen Schumann overtures Genoveva and The Bride of Messina, his lively Overture, Scherzo and Finale in E-flat Major, and the rousing Concertstuck in F Major featuring as soloists the four fine players of our viola section.
The Symphonies for Strings champagne concert series continues with programmes adventurously surveying equally beguiling selections by Luigi Cherubini of Paris Mar. 13, Christoph Willibald von Gluck of Vienna Jun. 12, and Richard Wagner of Bayreuth fame Sep. 18. The champagne reception in the lobby afterward offers everyone a relaxed opportunity to mingle, take photos, and share their joy, their thoughts and their feelings with the players.
The Tokyo Sinfonia will soon be welcoming a special group of young musicians from a youth orchestra in Santiago, Chile, for a mini-residency, working principally with Maestro Ryker and Chilean guitar virtuoso Alexis Vallejos, previously a featured soloist with the Tokyo Sinfonia.
Later in the year, our music director will conduct the Kantos Plains Honour Orchestra in a bouyant programme of works especially selected from the repertoire of the Tokyo Sinfonia.
We are also look forward to welcoming groups of students from schools in the Japan taking advantage of our student field trip programme. Under the guidance of a teacher in loco parentis, special arrangements can be made for student groups to be with the Tokyo Sinfonia to look over our shoulders during the acoustic rehearsal onstage, to enjoy an obento supper together with the players backstage, and then to be seated in special seats in the audience to enjoy the evening’s concert programme. Enquiries are welcome.
In the summer of 2019, in anticipation of the approach of the Tokyo Olympics, the Tokyo Sinfonia is highly honoured to present a once-in-a-lifetime Mozart Marathon with Sara Buechner performing the complete Mozart piano concertos in a dizzying round of 8 programmes in 4 weeks. The dates are Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2 pm ~ June 29 & 30, July 6 & 7, July 13 & 14, and July 20 & 21.
Unprecedented in the annals of music history, our Mozart Marathon will be enlivened with sprightly commentaries placing each of the 21 concertos in the context of influences which produced Mozart’s phenomenal artistic development. Naturally there will be champagne at the end, and juice for the young. These programmes will be very popular.
See you at the Sinfonia!
With every good wish from
Robert Ryker and the Tokyo Sinfonia
INFORMATION Tel (03) 3588 0738
Feel free to contact us directly by phone, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can look after you personally. You may also order tickets for Toko Sinfonia events through peatix or paypal.
What makes the Tokyo Sinfonia so special? – No. 5
Our friendly music director met a mother and her little daughter on a street in Tokyo several years ago, and naturally said hello. When the child shyly hid behind her mother’s skirt, he offered a Tokyo Sinfonia concert chirashi to her to see if she would respond. A little hand reached out to accept it, then quickly disappeared again behind the skirt.
A few weeks later, when he walked on stage to greet the audience in Oji Hall, he smiled to see that little girl and her mother seated in the front row. He waved. Over the next couple of years, Shi-chan and her mother were sitting in front row seats for every programme in the series. Then they disappeared.
A few years later a phone call came, and we learned that the family had moved to northern Japan but were expecting to be back in Tokyo soon for a few days. Was there a Sinfonia concert they could attend? There was, a programme in our dinner-concert series at the FCCJ.
Maestro Rÿker made his opening commentary to the audience at the dinner tables, then looked around to see where the little girl might be seated with her mother. There she was, now no longer quite so tiny. “Shi-chan how are you,” he asked, “and what are you doing?” “I’m seven, and I’m playing cello!”
Now just think. What does playing a musical instrument do for the formative development of a human being?
(1) It develops mental response. (2) It develops manual dexterity. (3) It develops emotional sensitivity. (4) It fosters teamwork. Read that again. Nothing else does that so efficiently, so naturally, so effectively. And the most precious time to hear great music in live performance is during the years of childhood prior to middle school.
Most young people simply have never had the opportunity to hear an orchestra in the throes of live performance. If they did, like Shi-chan, they might well become hooked. Beautiful music can refresh the mind, relax the body, and recharge the spirit. It can change people’s lives.
And that would be wonderful.
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