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Music After the Tohoku Disaster (5) 東日本大震災と音楽 

March 11, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Today, on the anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster, I attended what might have been the last charity concert in support of the victims in Copenhagen. At least 12 concerts in aid of Japan have taken place in Copenhagen to date, which is pretty impressive for a relatively small city in a small country far from Japan.

Meanwhile, the Japanese not only organized charity concerts. For Japan, one of the world's major donors of overseas development aid, being at the receiving end of foreign aid is not an easy experience. Giving "Thank You" concerts is a way of expressing gratitude in a positive manner. Ôtani Yasuko, concertmaster of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, besides playing in charity concerts and for disaster victimes, performed for representatives of the nations and international organizations who sent rescue teams immediately after the disaster. In September she played to an audience of invited guests in Tokyo, partnered by the pianist Fujii Kazuoki. For the programme she aimed to include composers from several of the countries represented, and while she played Monti’s Czardas as an encore she circulated among the guests.

I couldn't find a Youtube of the Thank You concert or one of the charity concerts, only photos (http://www.arigato-concert.jp/en/concert/index.html ), and a link to a ueam channel from Ôtani's official website (http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/17535103 click on one of the pictures and fast forward past the speech).
- But here is a publicity video of her playing extracts an unaccompanied Chaconne from the composer Samuragochi Mamoru's CD "Chaconne":

Incidentally, one of Ôtani Yasuko’s students is Yasui Yuko, is a violinist in Sjaellands Symfoniorkester/Copenhagen Phil ( http://www.copenhagenphil.dk/kunstnere#/kunstnere/orkestret/yuko-yasui- in Danish). Yasui staged seven of the 12 concerts here in Copenhagen, together with the pianist Makimura Eriko, other Japanese artists in Europe, and colleagues from the Orchestra. The first two performances, where Yasui and Makimura were joined by the cellist Gomi Keiko, were held already on 26 and 27 March 2011. With the last one today, at Tokai University European Center on the outskirts of Copenhagen, Yasui and her fellow musicians achieved their target of raising 100, 000 Danish Kroner (close to 18, 000 USD), and indeed surpassed it.

There seem to have been quite a number of "Arigato" (Thank You) Concerts of many kinds. The Japan Foundation put on a show featuring traditional Japanese performances. A big "Arigato Concert: Our Appreciation to the World" took place on 8 November in Suntory Hall, with soloists, members of theNHK Orchestra, the orchestras of the Tokyo Unviersity of the Arts and Tôhô School of Music, as well as a school wind band from Fukushima prefecture and a school choir from Iwate prefecture. I guess, "Thank You" concerts are another facet of forging and maintaining “kizuna” (bonds between people), a concept that has become especially important in the wake of the disaster. May the power of music continue to draw people closer together, both withing Japan and across national borders!

Previous entries about the musical aftermatth of 3//11:
1. Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra
2. Tamaki Hiroki's "pure temperament music" for disaster victims and Kino Masayuki to the rescue of Sanriku Railway
3. Hakase Tarô in London
4. "Ivry Gitlis' Tears" in Ishinomaki

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