NEXUS Returns to Japan / 2010 – Day 8 (2nd Concert)

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Saturday September 11 started with the (by now) normal routine – emails, blogging, Starbucks, “round up” (gathering everything to take to the hall for the concert).  At 11:30 AM Kaz (Meguro from Showa) called my room from the hotel lobby.  He and his wife, Yashio, had flown down from Yokohama to meet me and NEXUS and hear the concert.  I invited them for a light lunch back at Starbucks and we caught up on what’s happening with the Showa students.  I was just at Showa in Kawasaki this past January and it was nice to be brought up to date on their activities.  Kaz had recently traveled to Australia for a percussion gathering in Brisbane.  He mentioned that he met Tim White (from Perth) who told Kaz all about the NEXUS visit to Western Australia in 1986.  Also at the Brisbane gathering were Steve Schick, Kuniko Kato, Sylvio Gualda, and Phil Treloar.  Kaz gave me a copy of the events listing in which there were numerous concerts and workshops.  I noticed that on one of the programs John Wyre’s “Marubatoo” had been performed.

At 1:30 the three of us – Kaz, Yashio and I – walked to the Umeda Station to take the train to the hall.  As soon as we stepped outside, the unrelenting heat and humidity hit us like a brick wall.  It must have been at least 100-degrees (F) outside.  I needed to be at the hall at 2 PM to meet the NHK film crew to continue the documentary interview regarding Sado and Takemitsu.  This time I had a photocopy of the score to “From me flows . . .” that was in Takemitsu’s manuscript.  The documentary producer wanted to have footage of that score alone and of NEXUS with the score.

Backstage at the hall Kaz and Yashio greeted Diane and Garry, who hosted Kaz’s visit to the “Drum Boogie” concert in Kingston, NY in September 2009.  After greeting the others in NEXUS, Kaz and Yashio took their seats and were joined by two students from Showa – Tomomi Yamashita (who had also visited Kingston in 2009) and Ko Fujiwara.

NEXUS on stage at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center


The second performance also had a beautiful sense of reverence and after the two distant windchimes had finally ended their diminuendos, NEXUS and the orchestra were treated to six curtain calls – a very warm recognition for the music making.

Backstage in the dressing room after the Holst, Garry and NEXUS presented the PAC Orchestra percussion section – Naoki Yasuda (Timp 1), Rieko Koyama (Timp 2), Takao Okumura (Bass Drum, Tam Tam – also Timpanist in Kyoto Philharmonic), Yoshiko Ozawa (Snare Drum, Xylo, Glock, Chimes), and Atsushi Takahashi (Tamb, Cyms) – with gifts of small wind chimes.  When the chimes were unwrapped, the sound was compared to the bell crickets we heard in Kyoto and everyone laughed.

After the concert everyone – NEXUS, PAC percussionists, Kaz/Yashio, Tomomi/Ko – walked to a nearby Japanese restaurant for a very casual and friendly dinner.  The restaurant had been selected by Kazu Tsuchihashi and it was perfect.  The menu included some wonderful meats (sausages, gyoza, Kobe beef ) and fish (sashimi, sushi), all of which made for an intimate sharing of stories and experiences.

After the train ride back to our hotel, Kaz Yashio, Tomomi and Ryan took 2 taxis to meet Yasunori Yamaguchi and Sumire Yoshihara at a restaurant about 15-minutes away.  They had flown to Osaka and had arrived that evening.  Also joining us were Atsushi Takahashi (PAC Orch.) and Mitsuru Nakatani, the retired timpanist of the Osaka Philharmonic who is now teaching at SOIA College of Music.

It was wonderful to see Yasunori and Sumire again.  I last saw Yasunori at the Juilliard School in NYC when he presented a great workshop a few years ago, but I had not seen Sumire since the NEXUS visit in 1984.  It was very nice to chat with them about music and people we knew in common.  Yasunori asked about Robin, and I told him that I promised I would give Robin’s regards.  Robin (and John Wyre) became good friends with Yasunori (and Takemitsu) at the Osaka ’70 World Expo.  Of course, Yasunori was Toru’s favorite percussionist, with a profound sense of sound awareness and a mastery of the techniques to achieve the perfect result.  Our small party ended at 11:00 PM and I said my farewells to Kaz and Yashio as the taxi took Ryan and me back to our hotel.  NEXUS will see Yasunori and Sumire at tomorrow’s concert.

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