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OPO Tour to Japan 2024!

4 weeks ago   |   Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra   |   OPO on Tour, Concert

In May, the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra embarked on their debut tour to Japan supported by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and The Thompson Family Charitable Trust.

The Orchestra performed nine concerts to capacity audiences in four venues and cities across Japan, including Tokyo. We were joined by a selection of wonderful conductors and soloists.

Ishikawa Kenritsu Ongakudo Concert Hall, Kanasawa

The tour kicked off with a busy first day, containing two concerts on May 3rd. The OPO Founder and Music Director Marios Papadopoulos conducted the Orchestra and soloist Barry Douglas in Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3. Alongside this, the orchestra performed the quintessentially British ‘Nimrod’ from Enigma Variations by Elgar. The second concert of the day also featured Elgar, this time in his Wands of Youth Suite No. 1 when we were joined by dancers from three schools local to Kanazawa City: Ecole de Hanayo Ballet, Rodriguez Ballet School and Yuko Nakanishi Dance Space.

The Orchestra then spent the next few days travelling and performing another eight concerts in venues across Japan.

We were joined by multiple other soloists throughout the tour, such as pianist Junko Onishi, cellist Dai Miyata and violinist Himari. Alongside Music Director Marios Papadopoulos, we were joined by two other conductors Ryusuke Numajiri and Chosei Komatsu.

Of course, the Orchestra also enjoyed a lot of local food and culture!

On May 7th, we visited Tokyo to play in Sumida Triphony Hall. We were very grateful to receive such a warm welcome from the capital with the concert being sold out over two months in advance!  Some repertoire highlights included Mendelssohn’s dramatic ‘Scottish’ Symphony and some virtuosic Kreisler, played by young superstar Himari.

Sumida Triphony Hall, Tokyo

The Grand Finale concert of the tour, May 8th, was held at Aichi Prefectural Arts Centre in Nagoya. The Orchestra performed Beethoven’s legendary Fifth Symphony as well as the iconic Pomp and Circumstance No.1 by Elgar. We were again joined by the incredibly talented violinist Himari. By the end of the concert, the audience were all on their feet and it was a night of celebration – perfect for rounding off such a wonderful tour!

‘I liked this trip to Japan more than my previous ones! It was challenging to approach the music from different angles because of a variety of conductors, a tour crowned by and culminating in, however, the final two performances conducted by our own Music Director. The schedule allowed the members to explore and see new things, visit parks, palaces, the spas at any time of day and night, and to learn the effects of hot sake.’

Mats Lidström – OPO Solo Cello

Overall, we had a wonderful time performing nine incredible concerts, with huge support from all the audiences across Japan. We are extremely grateful to the Great British Sasakawa Foundation and the Thompson Family Charitable Trust for supporting us and to everyone who came to see us!

Remember to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to update with all the Orchestra highlights and to see where we are travelling to next!