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The Tokyo Symphony Orchestra is moving to a new home — in Kawasaki. On Jan. 20, the government of Kawasaki City, which is adjacent to Tokyo across the Tama River, unveiled a new symphony hall designed by Matsuda-Hirata Design Office. The hall will not only serve as the orchestra’s base, but also stage performances ranging from classical music to jazz and pop.

The auditorium will be known as the Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall, “muza” being coined from two words: “music” and “za,” a Japanese term meaning a place where people gather. Muza, which is connected to the west exit of JR Kawasaki Station, boasts 1,997 seats arranged in “vineyard” style around the stage.

That stage will be filled July 1, when the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra will perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 — known as the “Symphony of a Thousand” — under the baton of Kazuyoshi Akiyama. Although there won’t be quite 1,000 singers, the chorus will number an impressive 800.

On Nov. 7, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Kawasaki’s designation as a municipality, Sir Simon Rattle will conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra as it plays Haydn’s Symphony No. 88, the Overture and “Death of Love” from Wagner’s “Tristan and Isolde,” and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2.

The hall’s centerpiece will be a pipe organ made by Switzerland’s Orgelbau Kuhn AG, with 71 stops and 5,123 pipes. It will arrive at the hall on Feb. 10 and will be ready for use for the July 1 performance of Mahler.

Naomi Matsui, an organist who is acting as an adviser to the hall, said she hopes to create a program that will help familiarize people with the pipe organ. One event already planned is an organ gala concert on Feb. 11, 2005, at which Matsui and nine other organists will play.

The hall can cope not only with the sonorous notes of the pipe organ, but also with diverse genres of music — it’s been specially equipped with advanced acoustic technology to secure optimum resonance. Musa’s schedule setters will be looking to make the most of that as they program diverse future seasons for this exciting new venue.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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