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.
A native of Hamburg, Nina Petri is one of the most well-known faces on German television. Since she first appeared in her first Tatort (in the episode Schimanskis Waffe, one of the last featuring Götz George), numerous episodes of Tatort and innumerable series and TV films followed: most recently Sibel & Max, Soko Kitzbühel, the two-part ZDF production Tod eines Mädchens and the early evening crime series Heiter bis tödlich – Zwischen den Zeilen. Nina Petri has worked on feature movies with directors such as Doris Dörrie (Happy Birthday, Türke), Peter Lichtefeld (Zugvögel… Einmal nach Inari), Adolf Winkelmann (Junges Licht) and Tom Tykwer (Die tödliche Maria). For her supporting role in Tykwer’s movie hit Lola rennt (Run Lola Run), the actress received the German Film Prize in 1999. However, the 53-year-old also pursues many roles beyond the camera: for Hamburg’s SPD party, she has participated twice as a delegate in the election of the German President. At a benefit tournament of the football club FC St Pauli Hamburg, she was the first woman to join a VIP team for a good cause. She is also the patron of the “Klingendes Museum Hamburg”, which introduces children to musical instruments.
Heikko Deutschmann, born in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1962, is equally active on the theatre stage and television. He also works as an author and film-maker. Most recently, he appeared in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal at Berlin’s Renaissance-Theater and in Tankred Dorst’s last play, Das Blau in der Wand, at the Ruhrfestspiele and at the Düsseldorf Theatre. He began his television career in 1985; ever since, Deutschmann has appeared in many roles, making guest appearances in Tatort and Polizeiruf 110, in Ein Hausboot zum Verlieben and in the children’s series Tiere bis unters Dach, among others. Most recently, Heikko Deutschmann appeared in 2016 in the fairy-tale film Schlaraffenland and in the film version of Lindström’s Zurück ins Morgen. He has also recorded numerous audio books, ranging from classics such as Tales from 1001 Nights and Le Rouge et le Noir to novels by Martin Suter, Jörg Fauser and Frank Schätzing.
“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 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.
The concert will be recorded by Deutschlandfunk Kultur and broadcasted nationwide – via FM, DAB +, Kabel, online and app.