If you are a percussionist, you might do a double-take when you see the Kobe Port Tower in Kobe, Japan. It is designed to look like a tsuzumi, a traditional Japanese hand drum! And NEXUS will be seeing it soon. After a remarkable 3 months with sell-outs in Toronto, Minnesota and New York State, NEXUS is in busy preparation for their September trip to Kobe.
They will be performing their signature work From me flows what you call Time (by Toru Takemitsu – you can hear a sound byte of the piece here), and Holst’s The Planets, with the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra and the Kobe City Philharmonic Chorus under conductor and artistic director Yutaka Sado. The concerts will take place in the Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Nishinomiya City, between Osaka and Kobe on Osaka Bay.
The Hyogo Performing Arts Center was opened in 2005 to mark the ten-year anniversary of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake which devastated Nishinomiya and the surrounding cities in the Hyogo Prefecture. The Kobe Port Tower, built in 1963 and designed to be earthquake-proof, survived the disaster, in which 6,400 hundred lives were lost. In the 10 years following the earthquake, the citizens rebuilt and revived the Hyogo area and it is now attractive and vigorous. The Performing Arts Center and its grand opening became a symbol of that revival and a hub of artistic developments in the Hyogo area.
The PAC Orchestra is made up of brilliant young musicians selected through very competitive worldwide auditions. Half of the Orchestra is from overseas. Auditions are held in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Berlin, London, Vienna and Paris. There are also Japanese members who were studying or performing outside of Japan and decided to apply for auditions. Maestro Yutaka Sado is a charismatic conductor who was born in Kyoto, not far from Kobe/Osaka. He met Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa at Tanglewood Music Festival in 1987, and in 1988, served as assistant to Bernstein and toured Europe with the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra. (Click here for photos of NEXUS at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival a few years ago.) Sado received first prize at the 39th International Conducting Competition in Besançon in 1989, and the first prize at the Leonard Bernstein International Competition in Jerusalem in 1995. He assisted Bernstein, Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra in 1990 to inaugurate the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan where he has served as resident conductor and later as guest conductor.
NEXUS is looking forward to this! The instruments are being prepared for shipping as you read this, and the bags are being packed. Check back here for more on the Japan trip, next week.