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THE BERLIN MARATHON

Five symphonies in one day

by Mariko Kato

The Berlin Symphony Orchestra will storm through five major symphonies in a single day at Kioi Hall, Tokyo on June 24 as part of a Japan tour that also takes in Nagoya, Osaka and Yokohama.

The “marathon” concerts will consist mostly of music from Austria and Germany, for which they are particularly celebrated. Hardly a surprise, then, that tickets are selling fast.

The Berlin Symphony Orchestra has been a most celebrated symphony orchestra in a city full of them since its foundation in 1966. In addition to their series of regular performances at Berlin Philharmonic Hall and the Concert Hall of Berlin with artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, the orchestra has also toured the United States, Turkey, Egypt and Mexico. The album “Berliner Latin Tour,” which captured the orchestra in concert in South America in 2001, was nominated for a Grammy.

German maestro Lior Shambadal, who will lead the orchestra on this Japan tour, has been chief conductor for the last 10 years, and treasures well-nurtured, exquisitely balanced ensemble playing.

The Kioi Hall concerts take place at lunchtime and teatime on the same day, presenting Shubert’s “Unfinished” symphony, Beethoven’s 5th and Brahms’ 1st in the first concert, and Dvorak’s “New World” symphony and Beethoven’s “Eroica” in the second.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor Op.67 has gained an unrivaled reputation for its distinctive four-note opening motif, which has been used in countless musical genres, films and even on telephone answering machines. It was premiered at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien in 1808, a concert consisting entirely of Beethoven premieres (including two concertos), and directed by the composer himself. It will most likely be the triumphant tour de force of these Tokyo concerts.

The Berlin Symphony Orchestra concerts take place at Kioi Hall in Chiyoda Ward (near Yotsuya Station on the Marunouchi, Nanboku and JR lines). The lunchtime concert starts at 11 a.m., the teatime concert starts at 3 p.m. Tickets are 6,000-8,000 yen yen for each concert. Tickets to attend both are 11,000-15,000 yen yen (call [03] 3234-9999). For more info, visit www.ints.co.jp/berlin-symphony/index.htm

The orchestra will perform a program of various symphonies at Aichi Prefectural Art Theater, Nagoya, June 16; The Symphony Hall in Osaka, June 17; and Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall on June 23. Call Ticket Pia on (0570) 000-407.