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Friday, May 13, 2011

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Round of applause: Martha Argerich (center) receives a bouquet of flowers along with other artists who took part in last year's Beppu Argerich Music Festival.


Oita festival plays classics

Staff writer

The first Argentinian nisei, Seicho Arakaki, was born in 1911. Since then the number of those of Japanese descent in Argentina has grown to an estimated 32,000 people, according to Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad. A music festival in Kyushu this month will celebrate the past century with a series of concerts held in a spirit of international friendship and cooperation.

The Beppu Argerich Music Festival is now in its 13th installment, and the theme for this year is "Asia meets Argentina — Encounters between cultures." Organized by the Argerich Arts Foundation, the event will again take place in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, and will run until May 19. The foundation itself was set up in 1996 by award-winning piano maestro Martha Argerich, and aims to foster spiritual awareness in society through the musical development of the youth of Japan, while keeping a distance from the more commercial aspects of modern music.

Dates to mark on the calendar are May 14 and 19. On May 14 there will be a marathon concert "Classical Music Meets Tango," held in Iichiko Cultural Center where Argerich herself will take the stage, as well as the whole festival ensemble, including bandoneon virtuoso Nestor Marconi and Yuri Bashmet on the viola. The concert on May 19 will be a chamber night, with Bashmet taking the reigns and conducting the ensemble — showcasing the talents of the Moscow Soloists and the Toho Gakuen Orchestra — for the evening.

Beppu Argerich Music Festival 2011 runs through May 19 in Oita Prefecture. For more information, visit www.argerich-mf.jp.

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