As a private Catholic college, the Elisabeth University of Music plays an outstanding role in Japan’s academic life. Founded by the Jesuit padre Ernest Goossens only shortly after the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, it was recognized officially in 1948 as the Hiroshima School of Music. In 1963 the institution was expanded to its final form; even before, the music-loving Queen Elisabeth of Belgium had taken on its patronage. There is regular academic exchange between the Elisabeth University and its partner universities in Korea, China and Vietnam as well as with Trinity College London and the Royal Conservatory in Brussels. Its students hail from all over Asia as well as Europe and North America. The Orchestra consists of 60 musicians, all of them senior students and members of the graduating class of 2017 of the Elisabeth University. It is joined by its Choir, which numbers another 60 members.
The American musician Jonathan Stockhammer has made an international name for himself during recent years, mainly as a conductor of contemporary opera. Right after graduating from the music academy in his hometown of Los Angeles, he moved to Germany, where he gained a broad range of experience with Ensemble Modern, MusikFabrik and Ensemble Resonanz. Among his most recent productions, performances of Peter Eötvös’ Tri sestri at the Vienna State Opera and Georg Friedrich Haas’ Koma at the Schwetzingen Festival stand out. In Berlin, Stockhammer has been heard at the festivals Ultraschall and MaerzMusik. His curiosity for other musical genres is almost boundless. Thus, the Berlin-based conductor conducted Ensemble Modern for a CD with works by Frank Zappa and worked with the Pet Shop Boys on a new film score for Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin. His live recording The New Crystal Silence with Chick Corea, Gary Burton and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra received a Grammy Award in 2009.
Yoshiko Kobayashi is a graduate of the Elisabeth University of Music. She then attended the Prayner Conservatory in Austria and was a post-graduate student in the “Song and Oratorio” programme at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts. She won the first prize at the 10th Osaka International Music Competition and also received the grand prix at the competition Grand Final. Her opera repertoire includes the Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute), Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro) and Frasquita (Carmen). Today Yoshiko Kobayashi teaches at the Elisabeth University.
The mezzo-soprano Miyuki Fujii studied singing at the Osaka University of Arts. During her studies, she already made her debut as the Duchess in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and was subsequently heard as Carmen and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. At the Milano Music Festival, Miyuki Fujii was the soloist in the performance of Toshio Hosokawa’s Voiceless voice in Hiroshima with the RAI National Symphony Orchestra.
Vienna’s Burgtheater, Hamburg’s Schauspielhaus, Munich’s Residenztheater – Dietrich Mattausch is at home on all the major German-language stages. And of course on your television screen: “Der Fahnder”, “Traumschiff”, “Tatort”, many whodunits, but also many serious roles, such as in the movie “Die Wannseekonferenz”. Mattausch is one of Germany’s most well-known actors – on television and on the stage, which means the world to him. Yet he only arrived in his dream career after several detours, suffering through an apprenticeship as a forwarding merchant, taking acting classes on the side, playing provincial theatres for a relatively long time and only having his breakthrough in his mid-thirties. But then it was a real breakthrough! Being tall, he is considered the ideal casting for bankers, doctors, directors or high-ranking civil servants. He often plays these types as ice-cold and calculating, or cynically intellectual. In his private life, he is quite different: amusing, curious, open-minded, a ponderous activist. Apart from the theatre, music is his love. Good for Young Euro Classic: he has accompanied the festival from the very beginning, proving himself an active and true friend for seventeen years.
“Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage” Op. 112 (1815)
Symphony No. 7 in B-Minor D 759 “The Unfinished” (1822)
“Starless Night” for Two Sopranos, Two Narrators, Choir and Orchestra (2010)
7 pm: Pre-Concert Talk with Dr. Dieter Rexroth at the Werner-Otto-Saal
Free admission for ticket holders at 6:45 pm
They will undertake the long journey from Hiroshima to Berlin to perform a very special work by their compatriot Toshio Hosokawa: the most important Japanese composer wrote his Sternlose Nacht (Starless Night) in 2010, commemorating the devastating World War II bombings of Hiroshima and Dresden, setting texts by contemporary writers. With its cast of soloists, chorus and orchestra, the reference to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is no coincidence – especially since the latter work enjoys cult status in Japan. Beethoven’s actual music will be featured in the first part of the concert of the Choir and Orchestra of the Elisabeth University of Music – in the form of his concert overture Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage). The programme performed by the Japanese music students is rounded out with a classic of the symphonic repertoire, Franz Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony.