Konstantin Ishkhanov and Tomomi Nishimoto Present Japan Grande Classico Music Festival


This May, the IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra will embark on a four-concert tour of Japan, performing in Osaka, Tokyo, Nagoya and Yokohama. The orchestra will be led primarily by its Artistic Director, Tomomi Nishimoto, for a program of music featuring works by Debussy, Beethoven, Rimsky-Korsakov, Strauss, Adjemian, Khachaturian, Mirzoyan and contemporary composer Alexey Shor. The IlluminArt Philharmonic will be joined by guest conductor Toshio Yanagisawa, as well as five noted soloists including celebrated Japanese pianist, Yoshihiro Kondo, (prize winner in the 1987 Japan Piano Competition) and Daiki Kato (recent top prize winner at the 17th Hamamatsu International Piano Academy Competition), award-winning violinists Tomoko Kato and Asa Nakajima and internationally acclaimed cellist, Nobuo Furukawa. The tour is organized by the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC) along with the IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra.

After a challenging year for cultural institutions around the world, the IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra will this May boldly relaunch its touring activities with the 2021 edition of the Japan Grande Classico Music Festival, an ambitious tour of four Japanese cities including the country’s capital Tokyo. Formed in 2012 under the leadership of conductor Tomomi Nishimoto, the IlluminArt Philharmonic has since gone on to carve out a respected and versatile program throughout Japan and across the world. In 2013, the IlluminArt Philharmonic made history by being the first Asian orchestra to perform as part of the Vatican International Music Festival’s “Cardinal’s Mass”, for which it received considerable critical acclaim. Since this first visit to the festival, it has been invited back to perform every year since, joining the event’s Orchestra-In-Residence, the Vienna Philharmonic. IlluminArt is noted for its diverse and eclectic approach to programming, frequently performing works outside of the usual orchestral repertoire, including collaborations with musicians such as Grammy Award winning jazz pianist, Robert Glasper, and practitioners of other art forms including “Onikenbai” (‘Demon Sword”) dancers and Koyoto’s famous Kabuki artists.

The tour will begin in Osaka, at the city’s Symphony Hall, on May 9th, where the orchestra will be joined by Yoshihiro Kondo. Following this inaugural performance, the orchestra will continue to visit major Japanese cities for the subsequent dates on the tour, performing to audiences each consecutive Saturday evening for the rest of May: at the Kioi Symphony Hall (Tokyo) on May 14th with Daiki Kato on May 21st, with Tomoko Kato at the Aichi Prefecture Arts Hall in Nagoya, and at the Kanagawa Prefectural Music Hall in Yokohama with Nobuo Furukawa and Asa Nakajima. For the concert on the 14th May, the orchestra will also be joined by award-winning guest conductor Toshio Yanagisawa, who currently holds the position of Music Director of the Balkan Chamber Orchestra, as well as Chief Conductor of Kosovo Philharmonic amongst others. 

Tomomi Nishimoto, Artistic Director of the IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra, is widely recognized as one of classical music’s leading conductors, and a potent force within Japan’s cultural landscape. Since completing her studies first at the Osaka College of Music, and subsequently Saint Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia, she has gone on to work with numerous prestigious institutions round the world including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (UK), Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague State Opera and Hungarian State Opera House. She conducted the American Symphony Orchestra in her Carnegie Hall debut, and frequently returns to the USA as a regular guest conductor of the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra. She is also the youngest ever recipient of the Vatican’s Honor of Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte.

The program of music will cover a wide range of repertoire, and features works from composers ranging from the classical era to the modern day. Artists will play works by Claude Debussy, Aram Khachaturian,  Ludwig van Beethoven, Alexey Shor, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Edward Mirzoyan and Johann Strauss II.

The tour is organized by IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra and the European Foundation for Support of Culture (EUFSC), a leading Malta-based cultural organization which works to promote and support artistic projects around the world. Each year the Foundation organizes a series of concerts, festivals, masterclasses, competitions, lectures and other events in pursuance of this aim, culminating in their flagship project, the annual InClassica International Music Festival. This tour represents a welcome return to Japan for the EUFSC, following the previous highly successful edition of the Japan Grande Classico Music Festival in 2019.


“I am immensely proud to announce this year’s edition of the Japan Grande Classico Music Festival, an event the EUFSC last held in 2019 and one that features some of the most respected and accomplished classical musicians of Japan. It is an honor for the Foundation to collaborate with Tomomi Nishimoto and the IlluminArt Orchestra for this project, artists who have proved themselves time and time again to be at the forefront of classical music both in Japan and internationally, and who have contributed significantly to the promotion of traditional and contemporary Japanese culture across the globe. This festival also represents an important — and uplifting — milestone in returning to concert activities, following the restrictions placed on live events internationally over the last year. On behalf of myself and everyone at the European Foundation for Support of Culture, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Tomomi Nishimoto, the IlluminArt Orchestra and their guest soloists the very best for this series of concerts, performances which I am confident will be greatly enjoyed by our valued audiences in Japan.” — Konstantin Ishkhanov, President of the European Foundation for Support of Culture. 

The Japan Grande Classico Music Festival will take place from May 9 – 28, in various locations across Japan.

© Japan Today

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I hope they can get some decent crowds. I'd go but obviously am concerned about coronavirus and don't feel comfortable sitting in an enclosed room for an extended period of time. Arts community, among many others, has been affected so much, hope things turn around soon.

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Looking forward to the performances !!! Good luck!!!

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