Enchanted Sky: a Night of Japanese Harmony

For one exclusive night only, the Japan Foundation presents Enchanted Sky: a night of Japanese harmony at the Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music on the 7th July, a special night for the Japanese – they call it tanabata, the only night in the year where a pair of star-crossed lovers has the chance to reunite.

Legend has it that lovers Altair (cowherd star) and Vega (weaver star) have been separated by the Milky Way river under the rule of an angry king. Enchanted Sky is a constellation of harmonies featuring a unique blend of Western and Japanese sounds.

Featuring a marvelling array of favourites including Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No.2, Piazzolla's Libertango, Massenet's Meditation from Thais, compositions from Chopin, the score from Oscar-winning film Departures, Michio Miyagi's Haru no Umi, Rentaro Taki's Urami and more.

Four renowned musicians will weave magical melodies from both classical and modern genres, sending their heartfelt wishes to the sky above. Starring Susumu Aoyagi on piano, Takako Hagiwara on flute, Ayako Ishikawa on violin and Risa Kataoka on koto, Enchanted Sky is a concert not to be missed.

Carrying the Beat
Accompanying the concert, the Japan Foundation will also be presenting a special lecture on the 8th July with distinguished guest, Hiroyuki Takashima, the music mogul who introduced The Beatles to Japan.

Takashima will take us on an insightful journey behind the scenes on a revolutionary music tour of Japan, starting from The Beatles to modern day music, including the introduction of a new genre he initiated in 1996 known as ‘J-Classic’ – a Japanese-inspired variant of the classical genre.

Takashima is the CEO of Takashima Music Office (Aoyagi, Hagiwara, Ishikawa and Kataoka's agency). His career highlights span over numerous executive positions including Director of Western Music at Toshiba Records in 1959 where he managed artists such as Salvatore Adamo, Claude Ciari, The Beatles and The Yardbirds; Director and Head of Production at Canyon Records in 1970; Representative Director and Executive Deputy President at London Records, Polygram Group in 1981; and Executive Managing Director and General Manager of Production and Advertising at Polydor (now known as Universal Music) in 1984.

Susumu Aoyagi on piano
A child maestro, Aoyagi made his first orchestral debut with the Fort Worth Symphony when he was only nine. At 23, he won the Sixth Prize at the prestigious Marguerite-Long-Jacques-Thibaud International Competition and shortly after began touring the world. Aoyagi has produced five solo CDs, all of which have been highly acclaimed.

Takako Hagiwara on flute
A graduate from the Tokyo University of the Arts, Hagiwara is an active international performer, regularly competing in numerous recital contests internationally. She has received exceptional praise from distinguished music specialists such as cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and clarinettist Peter Schmidl from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ayako Ishikawa on violin
A First Class Honours graduate from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Ishikawa (L.Mus.A) has been performing internationally as a soloist, and appeared in many shows on television and radio broadcasts in various countries. Her exceptional achievements in winning countless awards were recognised by the Australian government, bestowing upon her a Distinguished Talented Permanent Visa in appreciation of her remarkable talent.
Risa Kataoka on koto
An expert in the koto and shamisen, Kataoka has had the honour to play for Their Imperial Highness Prince and Princess Akishino in 2007. Her versatility extends to playing everything from koto classics to singing bel canto opera. She has appeared in numerous shows on television, radio and commercial broadcasts.

All four artists will be touring to Wellington, New Zealand next, followed by Manila in the Philippines. They will be in Sydney for one night only.

Enchanted Sky: a night of Japanese harmony
7 July 2009
Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Cnr Bridge and Macquarie Streets, Sydney
$28 Adults/ $20 Concession & JPF Members
Tickets on sale now from City Recital Hall 02 8256 2222 or" www.cityrecitalhall.com

Carrying the Beat
8 July 2009
Japan Foundation Gallery
Level 1, Chifley Plaza, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney
Free Admission. Bookings are essential to 02 8239 0055 or [email protected]

The Japan Foundation aims to promote cultural and intellectual exchange between Japan and other nations www.jpf.org.au

bookmark/share with:

Press Release homepage / archives