Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra to tour Japan in July

3. červen 2024

After five long years, the Radio Symphony Orchestra are setting off on an extended international tour.

This time, they are heading to Japan, where they will be accompanied by chief conductor Petr Popelka. In total, they will visit six cities including Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, performing six concerts in some of the most renowned concert halls, such as the Suntory Hall in Tokyo and the Symphony Hall in Osaka.

“This tour of Japan is a significant undertaking for our orchestra this season. I’m delighted that our orchestra will have the opportunity to perform overseas, in Japan, no less, with its high calibre of classical music, rich music scene, and preeminent concert halls. I’m also particularly grateful that the orchestra will be able to export a little of the Czech Republic’s own beautiful music heritage, as well as collaborating with several outstanding local soloists, such as cellist Haruma Sato and violinist Fumiaki Muira. I simply cannot wait to hear the harmony between their fantastic playing and our orchestra,” enthused Petr Popelka about the upcoming tour.

The orchestra has six concerts scheduled as part of the tour. The tour will kick off with a concert at Symphony Hall Osaka, the first Japanese hall to be specifically designed for classical music in the Western style. Over the years, it has gained a reputation for excellent acoustics, and leading Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan even described it to be "one of the best concert halls in the world".

The second concert will take place at the Acros Fukuoka Symphony Hall, built in 1995. Its room acoustics are facilitated by the ‘shoebox’ layout, with a two-second reverb time, even when the hall is completely full. In addition to the concert hall, there are other spaces designated for international conferences, cultural events, and other occasions. One of the building’s most striking elements is the tree-lined roof garden, which cascades down each of the individual floors. It has even won a host of architectural awards.

Next, the Radio Symphony Orchestra will move on to Takasaki, where they will play the local concert hall. The space is among the city’s main sights, and was built especially for musical performances. The interior is lined with wood for better acoustics. Not only can every single note be heard, but all the seats offer an excellent view of the stage.

The climax of the entire tour is sure to be the concerts in Tokyo. The orchestra will perform in the Suntory Hall, located in central Tokyo’s Akasaka quarter. It may be described as the best place to perform and experience classical music and one of the most famous concert halls in Japan, with a capacity of 2006. Following that, the next concert will be held at Tokyo Opera City, which opened in 1997. The orchestra will round off its tour at the Aichi Prefecture Art Theater in Nagoya. It is a cultural complex, which now serves as a major centre for the promotion of cultural and artistic activities. For example, the building is home to a museum, theatre, and library.

The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra will treat the Japanese audience to pieces by famous Czech composers. The concerts will feature Smetana's set of symphonic poems My Fatherland, Dvořák's From the New World, plus his cello and violin concertos. They will be accompanied on stage by two leading Japanese soloists – cellist Haruma Sato and violinist Fumiaki Miura.

Born in 1998, Haruma Sato represents the younger generation both in terms of skill and popularity. In 2019, he garnered attention by becoming the first Japanese to win the cello category at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich. As a soloist he has performed with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio. He also won first prize at the Domenico Gabrielli Competition in Berlin and the XI Witold Lutosławski International Cello Competition in Warsaw.

Fumiaki Miura, a Japanese violinist described as “a great violinist" and "an intelligent and sincere musician" by Pinchas Zukerman, was born in Tokyo in 1993. He was awarded first prize at the prestigious Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition in Hannover in 2009. He was not only the youngest winner, but also the most decorated violinist at the competition itself, as he was also the recipient of the Music Critics Prize and Audience Award. Fumiaki Miura has collaborated with a range of celebrated orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonia, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Utah Symphony, and the Japan Philharmonic, plus many others.

author: We are the PRSO
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