Symphonic concert for your special spring in Yokohama April 20

Photo courtesy of Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra
Photo courtesy of Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra

Symphonic concert for your special spring in Yokohama April 20

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

As spring approaches, the days get longer and the temperature warms, the best strolling season is also upon us.

In looking forward to the pleasant season, you may already have started planning for some spring activities. How about adding a symphonic concert in Yokohama to your itinerary?

On April 20, one of the Kanto Plain’s top orchestras will bring a unique concert of American symphony music to the Kanagawa Kenmin concert hall near Yamashita Park.

“AMERICA – music works born and raised in the New World” is a concert featuring only orchestral music pieces composed by American and European composers.

“In Japan, you will rarely find a symphonic concert made up of only American music pieces,” says Koichiro Taga, spokesman of Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra.

Compared to European music’s long history, which dates to the Roman and Greek eras, at less than 250 years, American music history is relatively short.

“Through the concert, you can oversee how European music was introduced to America and how that has developed in the nation with diverse values and tastes,” Taga said.

To highlight the contrast of diversified American music, the European music performed will have elements inspired American traditions and culture.

You can enjoy popular and modern symphonic works of American composers, like “Appalachian Spring”, the orchestral version of the “Star Wars” theme and Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” inspired by African American Spirituals.

According to Taga, the most noteworthy piece in the concert should be “4’33” by John Cage.

For the piece, the conductor and full-sized orchestra sit on-stage and remain in silence for four minutes and 33 seconds. The tense and concentrated silence is shared by the nearly 2,000 audience members in the hall.

“I think this is the first time a professional Japanese orchestra performs this piece,” Taga said.

Up-and-coming conductor Gen Ohta collaborates with young, accomplished Japanese soloists Tomoki Sakata on the piano, Haruma Sato on cello, along with Kanagawa Philharmonic to make the unique concert even more special.

Much like the country itself, America’s classical music pieces are diverse and rich in history.  This concert with familiar music touches is sure to make your Yokohama stroll something you won’t easily forget.

music works born and raised in the New World

Venue: Kanagawa Kenmin Hall (3-1 Yamashitacho, Naka-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Pref., 15-minute walk from JR Kannai Station)
Open: 3 p.m. (hall opens at 2:20 p.m.)  
Tickets: S: 6,000 yen, A: 4,500 yen, B: 3,000 yen
Tel: 045-226-5107 (Mon-Fri, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.)

Aaron Copland: Rodeo “Buckaroo Holiday”
Leroy Anderson: the Typewriter
Leroy Anderson: Old Macdonald had a Farm
Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring “Simple Gifts”
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 (Excerpt)
John Williams: Sound the Bells!
Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Kings Row
John Williams: Star Wars “Main title”, “Asteroid field”
John Milton Cage Jr.: 4’33”
Antonin Dvorak: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, 1st Mov.
Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “From the New World” 4th Mov.

Piano: Tomoki Sakata
Cello: Haruma Sato
Orchestra: Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra 
Conductor: Gen Ohta
Stage Navigator: Nahoko Tazoe

Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra
Founded in 1970, Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the most prestigious Japanese professional orchestras housed in Yokohama City. The orchestra provides wide-ranged symphonic concerts, opera and ballet performances. The organization also performs special concerts at schools and for the disabled in Kanagawa Prefecture.

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