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Friday, Dec. 25, 2009

New Year's concerts held across Japan

Special to The Japan Times

If nightclubs aren't your thing, but you still want to hear live music over the New Year's holidays, classical music concerts might be just the ticket.

News photo
Classic holiday: Tokyo's Suntory Hall hosts the Wiener Johann Strauss Orchestra New Year Concert 2010 this holiday season. Other orchestras are set to perform in Yokohama, Osaka and Sapporo.

The Wiener Johann Strauss Orchestra is making its annual pilgrimage to Tokyo once again. Their New Year Concert 2010 features a well-known group from Vienna headed by Johannes Wildner, violinist of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the leader of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.

The New Year Concert is always a big hit and has become a tradition for many classical-music lovers in Japan. Every year premium seats sell out months in advance and the economic downturn hasn't changed that. This year, A, B, and P seats (ranging from ¥5,000 to ¥7,000) are all that are still available.

The Wiener Johann Strauss Orchestra New Year Concert 2010 is from 7:00 p.m. on Jan. 5, 2010, at Suntory Hall in Tokyo's Minato Ward. For more information, call (03) 3584-9999 or visit www.proarte.co.jp.

"Ode to Joy," a holiday favorite, is part of Ludwig Van Beethoven's final piece, "Symphony No. 9." This year, "Symphony No. 9," will be played at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall by The Leningrad State Orchestra from Russia. The orchestra will be headed by Vladislav Karklin and collaborate with The Metropolitan Chorus of Tokyo. The show starts from 2:00 p.m. on both Dec. 29 and 30. Tickets range from ¥5,500 to ¥10,000. For more information, visit www.koransha.com or call (03) 3943-9999.

South of Tokyo, Yokohama's Minato Mirai Hall will be holding a countdown concert titled "Silvester Concert: 2009-2010." The concert will be a rare opportunity to see premier musicians all under the same roof. They include Norichika Iimori, the principal conductor of the Wurttemberg Philharmonic Orchestra of Reutlingen; Shinichiro Ikebe, well known for his musical contributions to the films of Akira Kurosawa; and violinist Tsugio Tokunaga. The concert will start at 9 p.m. on Dec. 31 and finish around 12:15 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2010. If it looks like the last train will not cooperate with you, Pacific Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu is offering a Tokyu package plan. ¥75,000 includes two S-seat tickets, one double room at the hotel and breakfast. Ticket prices outside the package range from ¥10,000 to ¥5,000. For more information, call 045-682-2000 or visit www.yaf.or.jp/mmh

Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara will be holding its annual yearend Silvester Concert, titled "Asahi Silvester Concert," from 10 p.m. on Dec. 31 until around 12:15 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2010. The concert started 12 years ago and has since built up a reputation as the most famous yearend concert in the city. Now, people travel from other prefectures to Sapporo for the performance. At "Asahi Silvester Concert," Shigeo Genda will be conducting the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra with guest artists such as Yousuke Yamashita, an internationally recognized Japanese Pianist and Tamaki Kawakubo, the winner of International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2002. The concert's lineup includes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Schon lacht der holde Fruhling" and "Jupiter" by Gustav Holst.

Tickets range from ¥4,000 to ¥6,500. For more information, visit www.kitara-sapporo.or.jp or call (011) 520-1234.

The Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra will be holding its 79th New Year concert on Jan. 11 at The Symphony Hall in Kita Ward, Osaka. The orchestra, established in 1947, tours North America, Europe and Asia throughout the year before coming back to its hometown for the holidays. Masahiko Enkouji will be conducting the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra as well as guest musicians including Kansai-born soprano singer Hiroko Kouda.

The menu covers a wide range of classics from Franz Leher's "The Merry Widow" to Giuseppe Verdi's "La Traviata." Doors open at 2 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2010, and the performance starts at 3 p.m. Tickets cost from ¥1,500 to ¥5,000. For more information, visit www.osaka-phil.com or call (06) 6656-4890

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