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Asia Orchestra Week 2011

by Daisuke Kikuchi

Staff Writer

The orchestras of two cities devastated by powerful earthquakes this year are coming together for a special performance.

Asia Orchestra Week will present orchestras from Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, and Christchurch, New Zealand, at a special joint concert in Sendai, which was the largest city to be affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11. The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra is no stranger to disaster either. Their hometown was hit by two magnitude-6.3 earthquakes this year, on Feb. 22 and June 13. These temblors followed a magnitude-7.1 quake on Sept. 4, 2010.

The two orchestras will be joined by the Daegu Symphonic Orchestra from South Korea for a string of shows in Tokyo from Oct. 2-4.

Asia Orchestra Week is an annual event that began in 2002 to showcase the classical-music cultures of Asian nations. Thirty-seven orchestras have participated from 15 different countries over the years. For this, the 10th anniversary of the event, performances will take place in Tokyo over three days: the Daegu Symphonic Orchestra will play Oct. 2, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra will play Oct. 3, and the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra will close the event on Oct. 4.

Asia Orchestra Week marks the first international tour for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, who lost their rehearsal space during the February earthquake. Since the disasters, the musicians have been busy giving back to their city by performing free shows and impromptu gigs at hospitals. A message on the New Zealanders’ website comments on the camaraderie between them and the Sendai orchestra: “Not only are we linked through tragedy but also through our bond of music and the role that plays as we both look to rebuild our communities.”

Asia Orchestra Week 2011 will be held at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall: Takemitsu Memorial in Shinjuku-ku on Oct. 2-4. Tickets cost ¥1,000-¥3,000 for each day, and ¥5,000-¥7,000 for all three performances. The Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra and Christchurch Symphony Orchestra’s joint performance will be held at Sendai Seinen Bunka Center in Sendai, Miyagi Pref., on Oct. 5 (7 p.m.). For more information, call (03) 5610-7275 or visit www.orchestra.or.jp