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Orchestra from Jerusalem to tour Japan

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Special To The Japan Times

Classical music fans in Japan are set for a treat when the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra conducts its first tour of this country from Nov. 19 through Dec. 4.

Throughout its 80-year history as a leading orchestra, the JSO has played a crucial role in shaping the cultural climate of Israel.

Its colorful sound has attracted fans and musicians alike, as seen in the fact that some of the world’s most cherished artists have collaborated with the orchestra, including Polish-American pianist Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982), German-born American conductor Otto Klemperer (1885-1973), and violinists Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999) and Isaac Stern (1920-2001), to name just a few.

The meticulous performances of the orchestra’s string section stand out in particular, reflecting the strong Jewish tradition of playing such instruments.

Led by Russian conductor and cellist Dmitry Yablonsky on this occasion, the upcoming tour will feature various collaborations with Japanese musicians.

Conductor Tomomi Nishimoto is scheduled to perform at 10 concerts nationwide that will also feature the great Jewish composer Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. Additionally, she will collaborate with Yablonsky on Antonin Dvorak’s Cello Concerto.

Yablonsky will handle the baton in Tsu, Mie Prefecture, on Nov. 19 and in Tokyo on Nov. 24, where he’ll collaborate with well-known pianist Ingrid Fujiko Hemming.

In addition to the touring schedule, there will be a performance with a different program in Tokyo on Nov. 21 under the baton of Hisayoshi Inoue, who was a pupil of the late Israeli conductor Gary Bertini (1927-2005), the former musical director of the JSO.

“Traditionally, Jewish people love playing string instruments, especially the violin, and have passed on their skills for generations. There are so many prominent Jewish violinists,” Inoue says. “With various historical backgrounds and with the circumstances of the moment, many musicians have moved into Israel.”

Inoue will perform Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s magnificent yet rarely played Piano Concerto No. 2 with up-and-coming Japanese pianist Tomohiro Adachi.

“I was very inspired by our performing together. It was really worth going,” says Adachi, who was in Jerusalem a couple of days for the rehearsals. “It’s a big challenge for me, but I will do my very best to perform this extraordinary concerto with the JSO in Japan.”

Nishimoto spent several days in Jerusalem conducting the JSO earlier this month. She visited the Old City district and says, “While passing the many pilgrims, I recognized people’s feelings and could look back on human history.”

It’s a sentiment she hopes to convey to her audience on the Japan tour.

The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra will perform in Tokyo on Nov. 21, 24 and 29, as well as in Tsu, Mie Prefecture, on Nov. 19, Yokohama on Nov. 20, Aomori on Nov. 22, Sendai on Nov. 23, Niigata on Nov. 25, Kanazawa on Nov. 27, Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, on Nov. 28, Takamatsu on Dec. 1, Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Dec. 3 and Osaka on Dec. 4. Tickets range in price from ¥5,000 to ¥15,000. For more information, call Tempo Primo at 03-5810-7772 or visit www.tomomi-n.com/en or tomohiroadachi.com/index.html.