Sun, 13 Mar 2005


Japan focus of German classical music festival

Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Hamburg

Japan will be the focus of the 20th Schleswig- Holstein Music Festival in northern Germany next July 9 to Aug. 28, officials announced Friday.

Jessye Norman will be special guest star soloist will be featured in concerts in Hamburg and Kiel. Other stars include Edita Gruberova and violinist Nigel Kennedy along with piano virtuoso Alfred Brendal.

Traditional and modern Japanese music and performers are in the spotlight in a lineup that features the Kashoken Shingon Shomyo Buddhist monks choir, the Society for Japanese Traditional Music and the Nihon Nogakukai and Nogaku Kyokai ensembles.

In addition, the festival will feature a traditional No stage performance featuring Kiyokazu Kanze, Kan Hosho and Man Nomura.

Featured Japanese singers will be Fumie Yamamoto and Izumi Yamamoto with Eriko Yamamoto and Hiroshi Yamaguchi playing the shamisen, Akihisa Kominato on the shakuhachi and Masashi Itohara on taiko percussion.

Dresden's Saxony State Opera will present a 100th anniversary commemorative production of Richard Strauss' Salome during the festival.

Since it was founded in 1986, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival has had a firm place on the list of the world's top international cultural events.

Originally strictly a classical music event, the Festival has changed a good deal over the years, embracing new musical trends while shunning passing fads.

Each festival highlights the music and musicians of one particular country, giving concert-goers the chance to get to know the music- making nations in their diverse facets.

It also strives to cultivate young musicians through the Orchestral Academy at Salzau Castle originally set up by Leonard Bernstein, the newly founded Choir Academy and the master classes held in the Luebeck Academy of Music.