The Tokyo Philharmonic Will Make U.S. Debut as Part of Their 100th Anniversary Celebration, 3/11

By: Jan. 24, 2014
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The Tokyo Philharmonic has the longest history and tradition of any orchestra in Japan, having been originally established in Nagoya in 1911. As plans were being made for its centenary celebrations in 2011, a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck east Japan, challenging the nation with an unprecedented crisis. The orchestra's centenary plans were scuttled, as an entire culture adjusted to a solemn new reality.

A cherished dream of the Tokyo Philharmonic will finally come to pass, with a 100th anniversary world tour produced by IMG Artists that will encompass six countries on three continents. Internationally renowned Japanese conductor Eiji Oue will lead the orchestra for the tour. The first concert - Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 7:30 PM at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in New York City - will mark the U.S. debut of the orchestra, as well as the third anniversary (to the day) of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Two Japanese works - Toshiro Mayuzumi's Bugaku and Kiyoshige Koyama's Kobiki-Uta - will be performed, as well as Igor Stravinsky's iconic orchestral showpiece, Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring).

After New York, the Tokyo Philharmonic will appear in Madrid, Paris, London, Singapore and Bangkok.

"We are delighted to realize this world tour as the culmination of our 100th anniversary celebrations," says Ayuko Matsuda, Director of Public Relations for the orchestra. "For us, it is a significant step, as the sole Japanese orchestra marking the start of its second century. We are proud to represent our country, and hope to inspire the world with 21st-century Japonism."

Hiroshi Mikitani, Founder and CEO of Rakuten, Presenting Sponsor of the world tour, and Chairman of the Tokyo Philharmonic, states: "Music can touch your heart beyond race or nationality; it is the only truly global language. An orchestra is most empowered to shoulder this social responsibility. As a celebration of 100 years of touching hearts in Japan, we are extremely proud to bring the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra's dialect of the global language to the world."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center (Broadway at 65th Street), New York, NY

Tickets, $50 and $75, are available at the Alice Tully Hall box office,

by calling CenterCharge, 212/721-6500 or at

The Tokyo Philharmonic 100th Anniversary World Tour is made possible by Rakuten (Presenting Sponsor); The Agency for Cultural Affairs (Principal Sponsor); and Tour Sponsors Tomodachi Initiative, Green House Co., and Mori Building Co.

The New York concert is made possible by the following Supporters:Japan Foundation; Japan Tourism Agency; Japan National Tourism Organization;and the Consulate-General of Japan in New York.

The Tokyo Philharmonic 100th Anniversary World Tour is produced by IMG Artists.

About the Tokyo Philharmonic

The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra has the longest history and tradition of any orchestra in Japan, having been originally established in Nagoya in 1911. After moving to Tokyo in 1938 the orchestra played a pivotal role in bringing authentic opera to the Japanese public under Chief Conductor Manfred Gurlitt. After the war, the orchestra became a fully independent organization and changed its name to the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra (TPO), focusing on subscription concerts, opera and ballet while also pursuing a regular broadcasting program with NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). It is currently the largest orchestra in Japan, with more than 130 members. TPO is proud to have Dan Ettinger as Chief Conductor, Myung-Whun Chung as Honorary Conductor Laureate, Tadaaki Otaka and Kazushi Ono as Conductors Laureate, and Vladimir Fedoseyev as Principal Guest Conductor.

The Tokyo Philharmonic performs regularly at Tokyo's distinguished Suntory and Orchard Halls and at Tokyo Opera City, where it is based. The orchestra has received many awards and honors, including the Ongaku No Tomo Sha Prize (1984), the Agency for Cultural Affairs' Art Festival Prize (1986) and Art Festival Grand Prize (1995). The orchestra has been designated as one of the organizations for the Agency for Cultural Affairs' Special Program for Artistic Creativity. In 1997 it became the regular orchestra at Tokyo's New National Theatre. The orchestra often performs outside of Tokyo and engages in regional cultural exchange and education programs. Internationally, this will be the Tokyo Philharmonic's fourth European tour, as well as its first appearance in the United States.

About Eiji Oue

Eiji Oue is Conductor Laureate of the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, having served as Music Director from 2003-2011, and Conductor Laureate of the NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Hannover, following eleven years as its Music Director (1998-2009). He has also held the positions of Music Director of Pennsylvania's Erie Philharmonic Orchestra (1991-1995), Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra (1995-2002), and Music Director of the Orquesta Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya (Barcelona Symphony Orchestra) (2006-2010). He was Music Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming from 1997 to 2003.

Maestro Oue has guest conducted throughout North America, working with such prestigious orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Detroit, Saint Louis, Montreal and Toronto. His summer engagements in the U.S. have included appearances at the Ravinia, Tanglewood, Grant Park, Wolf Trap, Round Top and Midland music festivals. In Europe he has conducted the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the symphony orchestra of the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, the Oslo Philharmonic, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, National Orchestra of Spain, Swedish Radio Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, and the orchestras of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and WDR Cologne. In 2005 he made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival conductingTristan und Isolde.

Born in Japan, Eiji Oue began his musical studies at the age of four. At 15, he entered the Toho Gakuen School of Music as a performance major, beginning his conducting studies that same year with Hideo Saito, the teacher of Seiji Ozawa. In 1978 he was invited by Ozawa to spend the summer studying at the Tanglewood Music Center. There he met Leonard Bernstein, who became his mentor and colleague, sharing the podium during three international tours with concerts in La Scala, Vienna State Opera, Opera de Paris-Bastille and in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Rome and other musical capitals. In 1990 he assisted Bernstein in the creation of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, serving as resident conductor for the Festival Orchestra.

About Kobiki-Uta

Kobiki-Uta (1957), one of Kiyoshige Koyama's best-known works, is based on a traditional folk song (The Woodcutter's Song), which originated in the Kyushu area. The opening Theme depicts the woodcutter 'singing' while he works; the sound of the saw can be heard in the background, as well as the distant sound of a temple bell. The second movement, Bon Odori, sets the scene for a traditional summer festival, with a rhythmic drum beat accompanying a bright flute melody, amidst "calls" from the crowd. The third movement, Asa no Uta(Morning Song) presents a variation on the opening theme, with the addition of glockenspiel, celesta, marimba and piano. The final movement, Finale, opens with trumpet and snare drum sounding the call. The full orchestra then further develops the opening theme before the gong signals the close of the work.

About Bugaku

Bugaku was commissioned by the New York City Ballet following its 1958 tour of Japan, and after the Gagaku Company of the Imperial Household's tour of the United States the following year, where the NYCB members had the opportunity to hear the traditional court music and see the traditional dances that are presented as part of the Japanese Imperial Household's historical performances. George Balanchine, NYCB's co-founder and ballet master, asked Mayuzumi to compose music that used western instruments but imitated the traditional instruments of the Gagaku orchestra, and in particular highlighted the dance portions of the tradition, called "bugaku." Balanchine's choreography attempted to honor the tradition of the stylized movements and deep respect and courtesy depicted by the dancers, as well as balancing the left and right portions of the dance, also reflected in the music. Bugaku was completed in 1962 and premiered in New York in March, 1963.

About Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring)

Stravinsky marked a turning point in music history with this piece, which focused on the primeval rhythmic urges found in the folk traditions of pagan rituals. He tested the limits of orchestral timbres to express these sounds, extending not only the number and types of instruments, but challenging the ultimate range of each, most famously the opening high strains of the bassoon. With an emphasis on pervasive polytonality, persistent polyrhythmic passages and irregular meters, melody was no longer an equal partner. The combination of all these effects with such a huge ensemble, together with the unexpected storyline and primordial impulses expressed in the undulating movements of the dancers, not only caused a riot at the premiere by Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russes in 1913, but stirred the arts in a way that had a far-reaching impact and, 101 years later, continues to stir audiences.

About IMG Artists

IMG Artists is the global leader of performing arts management. For thirty years, the company has set the standard for excellence across the artist management, touring, events, festivals and cultural consulting fields. IMGA's 150 dedicated specialists in twelve offices across three continents offer unparalleled international reach and depth of experience to the company's artists, clients and partners. With the launch of the SAGE joint venture with China Arts and Entertainment group and new venue managements and technology initiatives designed to support and enhance the core business, IMGA remains the vanguard of the industry.

Since its inception, IMG Artists has been proud to work with many of the world's greatest performing artists. Whether nurturing the careers of tomorrow's stars or building upon the success of established performers, IMG Artists uses its global network to support its clients and provide value-added services the world over.

About Rakuten

Rakuten, Inc. (4755:Tokyo), is one of the world's leading Internet service companies, providing a variety of services for consumers and businesses, including in the areas of e-commerce, eReading, travel, banking, securities, credit cards, e-money, logistics, portal and media, online marketing and professional sports. In both 2012 and 2013, Rakuten was ranked among the world's "Top 10 Most Innovative Companies" in ForbesMagazine's annual list. Rakuten is expanding worldwide and currently operates throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 10,000 employees and partner staff worldwide.


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