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Birthday best for Suntory Gala

by Chiho Iuchi

Tickets are now on sale for a very special concert to be staged Oct. 4 at Suntory Hall in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

Marking the anniversary of the hall’s opening on Oct. 12, 1986, Suntory Hall Gala Concerts — one of the venue’s most popular events — have been held annually since then at the beginning of October, each time featuring first-class artists from Japan and beyond.

This year, the program is comprised of familiar piano pieces, including “Liebestraume (Dreams of Love) No. 3″ (Liszt) and “Ballade No. 1″ (Chopin), bringing together six talented pianists, including two Japanese female veterans Ikuyo Nakamichi and Michie Koyama; Jorg Demus, an 80-year-old Romantic maestro from Vienna; Teo Gheorghiu, who is known for his performance as a boy-genius pianist in the film “Vitus” (2006); and Miroslav Kultyshev, winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2007. Kultyshev will perform “Carmen Fantasy” (Waxman) with the young Japanese musician Mayuko Kamio, winner of the violin division in the same competition, as well as the first movement from “Piano Concerto No. 1″ (Tchaikovsky), together with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michiyoshi Inoue. Also featured are Schubert’s beautiful pieces “Der Lindenbaum (The Linden Tree)” from the song cycle set “Winterreise (Winter Journey)” and the 4th movement of his Piano Quintet, “Die Forelle (The Trout).”

Gala concert audience members are encouraged to dress up for the event, wearing kimono, evening dress or tuxedo as they are invited to join the choir in a rousing rendition of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1.”

The concert is on Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. at Suntory Hall. Tickets, at ¥10,000 to ¥22,000, are on sale at Pia, E+, CN, La and Suntory Hall Ticket Center (03) 3584-9999. For more details, visit www.suntory.co.jp/suntoryhall/