LSO string quartet brightens up care facility with free concert

by Mariko Kato

Members of the internationally acclaimed London Symphony Orchestra took time off from their tour of Japan to give a free concert at a Tokyo care facility Saturday.

Four LSO string players formed a quartet to perform for members of Family House, a nonprofit organization based in the Ryogenji Temple complex in Asakusa. The group provides accommodation for children with serious illnesses who need to live away from home for hospital treatment, and their families.

The concert, attended by more 50 Family House members, families and friends, was part of the Musicians on Call scheme devised by LSO Discovery, the orchestra’s music education and community program, to bring live music to those at care homes, schools and hospitals who cannot reach concert venues.

With a Buddhist altar serving as their backdrop, the string quartet played an hourlong program of popular music from various genres, including the first movement of Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”, the traditional English folk song “Greensleeves,” and arrangements of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and Christmas tunes.

“When we heard that this concert will be in a temple, we thought a string quartet would be suitable. We chose a program of short pieces with plenty of variety for the children,” said Kathryn McDowell, LSO’s managing director.