2013 Saito Kinen Festival Season Announcement

The 2013 Saito Kinen Festival, located in the beautiful mountain region of Matsumoto, Japan (Nagano Prefecture), will present the unique artistry of the Saito Kinen Orchestra in a season of new productions of three rarely seen masterpieces: Ravel’s two surviving operas and Stravinsky’s sui generis theatrical work The Soldier’s Tale, in addition to orchestral masterworks by Ligeti, Mozart, Prokofiev and Strauss, and chamber music of Carter, Debussy, Dvořák, Mozart, and Ravel, August 12- September 5.

From the press release:

Seiji Ozawa will lead the SKO in the production of Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges as well as conducting them in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with acclaimed Japanese jazz pianist Junko Onishi.

For further information about the 2013 Saito Kinen Festival, visit www.saito-kinen.com.


The inspiration and centerpiece of the Saito Kinen Festival, the Saito Kinen Orchestra will also be featured in two concert programs in the 2013 Festival, including a performance of Mozart’s rarely heard Symphony No. 33 in B-flat Major, Ligeti’s Double Concerto for Flute, Oboe, and Orchestra, featuring SKO members Jacques Zoon and Philippe Tondre as soloists, and Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra (9/3&4), all three works are firsts for the Festival. The Junko Onishi Trio will join the Saito Kinen Orchestra for a special collaborative program, “Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto Gig” (Junko Onishi meets Saito Kinen Orchestra) with the trio opening the program performing classic jazz standards, followed by an SKO performance of excerpts from Prokofiev’s ballet score to Romeo and Juliet, and ending with Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue played by the SKO with the Junko Onishi Trio, under the direction of Seiji Ozawa. Trio members include Reginald Veal (bass) and Eric McPherson (drums).

New Glyndebourne co-productions (that premiered at Glyndebourne in 2012) of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges, conducted by Seiji Ozawa, and L’heure espagnole, under the direction of French conductor Stéphane Denève, Ravel’s only two surviving operas, with stage direction by Laurent Pelly (8/23,25,28,31). The cast for L’enfant et les sortilèges will feature Isabel Leonard, Paul Gay, Yvonne Naef, Anna Christy, Marie Lenormand, Elliot Madore, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, and Kanae Fujitani, along with the SKF Matsumoto Chorus, SKF Matsumoto Children’s Chorus, and the Saito Kinen Orchestra. The cast for L’heure espagnole features Isabel Leonard, Elliot Madore, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, David Portillo, and Paul Gay.

Seiji Ozawa and Kazuyoshi Kushida’s production of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale has been performed to acclaim in recent years, and the work returns to the festival this year in a new production under the same artistic direction (8/22,24,26,27). The performances will feature Kanji Ishimaru (narrator); Yasuyuki Shuto (soldier), Galien Johnston (princess), and Akira Shirai (devil), in addition to seven musicians including Kei Shirai playing the solo violin part.

The Saito Kinen Festival Opera for Young People’s production of Hänsel und Gretel will be presented to the general public for the very first time (9/7), in addition to the usual performances for school children. The Opera for Young People is a recent effort to create unique hour-long opera productions for younger audiences, based in the festival’s history of introducing symphonic music to children. Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel will be conducted by Yu Sugimoto, in a special abridged version created for the Festival (9/5&6). The performances, under the direction of Atsushi Moriyasu, will feature Kasumi Shimizu/Eiko Koizumi (Hansel); Kiyoko Yamaguchi/Rie Miyake (Gretel) Ai Ishii/Miho Asai (the Witch); Mayumi Makino (Gertrude); Hirotaka Nakamoto (Peter); and Mamie Matsuda (Sandman).

A key component of the SKF since its founding in 1992, chamber music programs for the 2013 Festival will feature members of the orchestra and other acclaimed musicians in three programs. A program of Mozart’s Piano Trio No. 3 in B-flat Major, K.502; Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp; and Dvořák’s Piano Quintet in A Major, B.155 (8/27), will feature SKO members Koichiro Harada and Miwako Watanabe (violin), Nobuko Imai (viola), Sadao Harada (cello), Sebastian Jacot (flute), Naoko Yoshino (harp), in addition to Ichiro Nodaira (piano). A program of Mozart’s Adagio and Rondo in C minor, K.617, Carter’s Enchanted Preludes for Flute and Cello, Ravel’s (arr. Salzedo) Sonatine en [Michelangelo String Quartet, photo by Marco Borggreve]trio, and Mozart’s Serenade No. 11 in E-flat K.375 (8/30), will feature SKO members Iseut Chuat (cello), Jacques Zoon (flute), Philippe Tondre, Manuel Bilz, and Mayuko Morieda (oboe), Julia Pliant and Masayuki Naoi (horn), Rob Weir and Hajime Konoye (bassoon) and Naoko Yoshino (harp).

The Michelangelo String Quartet, including SKO member Nobuko Imai, will present a program of Haydn’s String Quartet No. 78 in B-flat Major, Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 3 in F Major Op. 73, and Schubert’s String Quintet in C, Major D.956 (8/21). The members of the Michelangelo String Quartet are Mihaela Martin and Daniel Austrich (violin), Nobuko Imai (viola), and Frans Helmerson (cello). Cellist Sadao Harada will join the group for the Schubert.

With educational activities for young audiences a core component of its mission, the 2013 Saito Kinen Festival will present the young musicians of the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra in two programs: a special one-hour version of Humperdink’s Hänsel und Gretel, under the direction of Yu Sugimoto, and an orchestral presentation of the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, under the direction of Naohiro Totsuka. In addition, Saito Kinen Chamber Music Study Groups will focus on brass ensemble and jazz piano trio training and performance with young musicians chosen especially for these programs.  Members of the Junko Onishi Trio will lead the instruction of the piano trio training program.

The Saito Kinen Festival bears strong ties to Matsumoto City, where it has been held since its inception in 1992. Every year this kinship is celebrated with a wind ensemble performance and a colorful parade through historic downtown Matsumoto, ending in a concert in the garden of Matsumoto’s majestic samurai castle (8/25). Many local groups participate in this celebratory event, including school and community wind ensembles.

The Saito Kinen Orchestra was founded in September 1984, when Hideo Saito’s former students came from around the world to organize a special concert series to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the renowned educator’s death. They inspired audiences with their unified approach to music-making, inspired by the influential teachings of their mentor. Although originally limited to students of Saito, members have always come from the great orchestras of Europe, the United States, and Japan.

After their initial series of concerts to honor Mr. Saito in 1984, the Saito Kinen Orchestra received invitations from around the world, where their performances garnered the highest critical and popular acclaim.  The Saito Kinen Festival was a natural outgrowth of this success and was founded in 1992.  In addition to several tours to Europe, the SKO has toured China, and performed in Carnegie Hall in 1991 and 2011.

The Saito Kinen Festival honors its roots in musical education by providing a variety of workshops for young musicians, culminating in recitals presented for the general public.  In addition, most years the Festival presents an opera production and always puts on concerts designed specifically with the goal of introducing classical music to young audiences.

A quote from Seiji Ozawa—a former pupil of Mr. Saito’s—from the inaugural season of the Saito Kinen Festival captures the spirit of the intentions of the SKO: “The SAITO KINEN ORCHESTRA is my invaluable treasure, entrusted to me by the late Mr. Saito. It is no exaggeration to say that Mr. Saito made me what I am by sowing the seeds of Western music in the Japanese soil and nurturing their growth. I am quite sure that all the members of the orchestra feel the same way and this concerted thought of each member makes up the Saito Kinen Orchestra. We thought that it was our mission to pass the will of our special mentor to future generations, in our own way. So, it was decided that we would hold the music festival in Japan, and that is how the SAITO KINEN FESTIVAL MATSUMOTO came into being.”

The 2013 Saito Kinen Festival

A co-production with the Glyndebourne Festival
Ravel: “L’enfant et les sortilèges”
“L’heure espagnole”
Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre Main Hall
August 23 (Fri) 19:00 25 (Sun) 16:00 28 (Wed) 19:00 31 (Sat) 16:00
SS=¥30,000 S=¥26,000 A=¥22,000 B=¥18,000 C=¥10,000

This will be a rare opportunity to see Ravel’s only two surviving operas L‘enfant et les sortilèges and L’heure espagnole performed as a double bill. Seiji Ozawa conducts the first, and French conductor Stéphane Denève the second. The world-renowned Laurent Pelly directs a stellar cast including acclaimed soprano Isabel Leonard in vibrant and unusual productions of these two fantastical works.

Saito Kinen Orchestra

Seiji Ozawa /L’enfant et les sortileges
Stéphane Denève / L‘heure espagnole

Laurent Pelly

Set Designers:
Barbara de Limburg L’enfant et les sortilèges,
Caroline Ginet L’heure espagnole
(Original Set Design: Caroline Ginet and Florence Evrard, set adapted by Caroline Ginet)

Lighting Designer:
Joèl Adam

Costume Designer:
Laurent Pelly in collaboration with Jean-Jacques Delmotte

L’enfant et les sortilèges:
Isabel Leonard, Paul Gay, Yvonne Neaf, Anna Christy, Marie Lenormand, Elliot Madore, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, Kanae Fujitani, SKF Matsumoto Chorus and SKF Matsumoto Children’s Chorus

L’heure espagnole:
Isabel Leonard, Elliot Madore, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, David Portillo, Paul Gay

Play meets Music
+ Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre co-production
Stravinsky: “The Soldier’s Tale”
Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre Special Theatre August 22 (Thu) 19:00; 24 (Sat) 14:00/18:00;  26 (Sun) 19:00;
27 (Tue) 14:00
¥5,000 (¥3,000 with student ID)

In a multi-disciplinary collaboration unique to Saito Kinen Festival, renowned theater craftsmen Kazuyoshi Kushida and Seiji Ozawa created their first production of Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale” in 2011, which played to acclaim again the following year. This year Kushida and Ozawa have created an entirely new production of the same piece for the delight of our audiences.

Music Director: Seiji Ozawa
Artistic Director / Director: Kazuyoshi Kushida

Narrator: Kanji Ishimaru
Soldier: Yasuyuki Shuto
Princess: Galien Johnston
Devil: Akira Shirai
Violin: Kei Shirai
Contrabass: Hirofumi Taniguchi
Clarinet: Makoto Yoshida
Bassoon: Mariko Fukushi
Trumpet: Yuki Tadatomo
Trombone: Takeshi Imamura
Percussion: Keita Maeda

Presented by the Matsumoto City Arts Foundation Supported by Matsumoto City and the Matsumoto Board of Education

Orchestra Concert
Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano-ken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan) September 3 (Tue), 4 (Wed) 19:00
S= ¥14,000 A=¥12,000 B=¥10,000 C=¥6,000

Ligeti‘s Double Concerto is a Japan premiere, featuring SKO members Jacques Zoon and Philippe Tondre as soloists. Also on the program is Richard Strauss’s celebrated Also sprach Zarathustra. The concert opens with the rarely heard Mozart’s Symphony No.  33. All pieces are firsts for the festival.

Saito Kinen Orchestra
Conductor: Kazushi Ono

Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto Gig
”Junko Onishi meets Saito Kinen Orchestra”
Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano-ken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan) September 6 (Fri) 19:00
S=¥14,000 A=¥12,000 B=¥10,000 C=¥6,000

 [Junko Onishi]Junko Onishi Trio
    Piano: Junko Onishi
    Bass: Reginald Veal
    Drums: Eric McPherson
Prokofiev: “Romeo and Juliet” Excerpts
    Saito Kinen Orchestra
    Conductor: TBA
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
    Junko Onishi Trio
    Saito Kinen Orchestra

The 2013 festival will be brought to a finale by a performance of Rhapsody in Blue by the Junko Onishi Trio in collaboration with the Saito Kinen Orchestra, conducted by Seiji Ozawa. The first half of the program will feature Ms Onishi’s trio performing classic jazz tunes. Ms. Onishi will have spent the days leading up to this concert coaching young jazz pianists in trio playing, as part of the Saito Kinen Jazz Study Group – Piano Trio program.  

Chamber Concert I
The Harmony Hall August 21 (Wed) 19:00

Haydn: String Quartet No.78 in B-flat major, Hob. III-78 “Sunrise”
Shostakovich: String Quartet No.3 in F major, Op.73
Schubert: String Quintet in C Major, D956

Michelangelo String Quartet
Violin: Mihaela Martin, Daniel Austrich
Viola: Nobuko Imai
Cello: Frans Helmerson
Cello (Schubert): Sadao Harada

Chamber Concert II
The Harmony Hall
August 27 (Tue) 19:00

Mozart: Piano Trio No.3 in B flat major, K.502
Debussy: Sonata for flute, viola and harp
[Nobuko Imai, photo by Marco Borggreve][Miwako Watanabe]Dvořák: Piano Quintet in A major, B.155

Violin: Koichiro Harada, Miwako Watanabe
Viola: Nobuko Imai
Cello: Sadao Harada
Flute: Sébastian Jacot
Harp: Naoko Yoshino
Piano: Ichiro Nodaira

Chamber Concert III
The Harmony Hall August 30 (Fri) 19:00

[Michelangelo String Quartet]Mozart: Adagio and Rondo in C minor, K617
Carter: Enchanted Preludes for Flute and Cello
Ravel (arr. Salzedo): Sonatine en trio
Mozart: Serenade No.11 in E flat major K375

Viola: Yoshiko Kawamoto
Cello: Iseut Chuat
Flute: Jacques Zoon
Oboe: Philippe Tondre, Manuel Blitz, Mayuko Morieda
Horn: Julia Pliant, Masayuki Naoi
Bassoon: Rob Weir, Hajime Konoye
Harp: Naoko Yoshino

Concert for Children
August 23 (Fri) 26 (Mon) 11:00/ 14:00 (open only to invited students)
Matsumoto/ Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano-ken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan)
August 27 (Tue) 28(Wed) 11:00/ 14:00 (open only to invited students)
Nagano/Hokuto Bunka Hall

An orchestra program is presented to elementary school sixth graders throughout Nagano Prefecture every year. In 2013, approximately 14,000 students chosen by lottery from 253 schools are expected to attend. The conductor and members of the orchestra provide a humorous and engaging introduction to classical music and the instruments of the orchestra. It is an SKF tradition begun the very first year of the festival in a gymnasium by the SKO and Seiji Ozawa and has been passed down in recent years to the younger Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra, and the venue is now the Kissei Bunka Hall. This year will feature the final movement from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with chorus and soloists.

Soprano solo: Tamayo Yoshida
Alto solo: Kasumi Shimizu
Tenor solo: Masato Takada
Bass solo: Kei Yonashiro
Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra
SKF Matsumoto Chorus
Conductor: Naohiro Totsuka

Made possible by the generous support of LANXESS.

Opera for Young People
Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel – abridged version
Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre Main Hall
September 5 (Thu) 6 (Fri) 11:00 / 15:00 (open only to invited students)
General admission performance: September 7 (Sat) 13:00 / 16:00 S= ¥3,000 A=¥2,000 B=¥1,000

Following in the tradition of providing elementary school children the opportunity to hear and appreciate symphonic music in the SKF’s long-standing Concert for Children, the Opera for Young People is a more recent effort to create unique hour-long opera productions that can easily be appreciated by a slightly older age group. This summer approximately 6,300 first year middle school students chosen by lottery from 74 schools are expected to attend the Hänsel und Gretel production, featuring the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra. This year marks the first time the production will also be put on for the general public, on September 7.

Hansel: Kasumi Shimizu / Eiko Koizumi
Gretel: Kiyoko Yamaguchi / Rie Miyake
The Witch: Ai Ishii / Miho Asai
Gertrude: Mayumi Makino
Peter: Hirotaka Nakamoto
Sandman: Mamie Matsuda
Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra
SKF Matsumoto Children’s Chorus
Conductor: Yu Sugimoto
Director: Atsushi Moriyasu

Saito Kinen Study Groups

[Brass ensemble Study Group]Intensive classical music study for young musicians has been an offering at the Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto since 1997. Areas of study have included string chamber music and art song, with the 2013 festival introducing for the first time study in the area of jazz, led by renowned jazz pianist Junko Onishi.

Saito Kinen Chamber Music Study Group – Brass Ensemble
August 5 (Mon) / 10 (Sat) Okushiga Kogen

August 12 (Mon) 19:00, ¥1,000
Agata no Mori Bunka Kaikan

Saito Kinen Jazz Study Group – Piano Trio
August 26 (Mon) / 31 (Sat) Agata no Mori Bunka Kaikan

September 1 (Sun) 17:00, ¥1,000
Agata no Mori Bunka Kaikan

Parade / Joint Performances
August 25 (Sun)
10:00 Parade from downtown Matsumoto (Isemachi) to Matsumoto Castle
11:30 Joint Performances, Matsumoto Castle Garden

The Saito Kinen Festival bears strong ties to Matsumoto City, where it has been held since its inception in 1992. Every year the city welcomes the festival in a wind ensemble performance that tekes the form of a colorful parade through historic downtown Matsumoto, ending in a concert in the garden of Matsumoto’s majestic samurai castle. Many local groups participate in this celebratory event, including school wind ensembles and other community musical groups.