Celebrating Chopins 200th

12 ways experience Chopin’s timeless music

Celebrating Chopin’s 200th

New Yamaha Ginza Building, Yamaha Hall

Even those who are unfamiliar with classical music, the phrase ‘poet of the piano’ might cause Polish composer musician and genius, Frederic Chopin, to flicker to mind.

Many of Chopin’s works – the ‘Polonaise in A Flat, Op. 53, Fantaisie-Impromptu’, the ‘Minute Waltz (the Waltz in F flat major, Op.64 No.1)’, the ‘Raindrop Prelude (Prelude No.15)’, the ‘Revolutionary Etude (Etude Op.10, No.12)’ and the ‘Etude Op.10 No.13’ – have been used in movies and commercials among countless other settings.

Chopin’s influential music is incredibly familiar to almost anyone whether they realise it or not, and 2010 will mark the composers 200th birthday. Opinions differ as to exactly when Chopin was born, but the general consensus seems to be that it was either February 22 or March 1 of the year 1810. To celebrate the bicentennial of the legend, a string of events and concerts are being held across Japan. Musicians are being given more and more opportunities to include Chopin in their programmes, from the ‘Chopinists’ who have been highly placed at the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition, to pianists like Nobuyuki Tsujii – who rose to prominence after becoming the first Japanese national to be top prize winner at the prestigious Van Cliburn Competition. The opportunity to hear the beautiful melodies of Chopin’s music performed live by fine musicians something that should not be missed.

Check out the performances on our list and immerse yourself in Chopin’s subtle, innovative and refined music – a beauty that hasn’t faded in 200 years.

Hear Chopin in the New Yamaha Ginza Building, Tokyo’s newest landmark

Hiroko Nakamura Piano Recital

This piano recital will celebrate both the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth, and the 50th anniversary of Hiroko Nakamura’s debut as a professional pianist. Nakamura was the first Japanese national to become a prize-winner at the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition. The concert will take place in the spanking-new Yamaha Hall in the New Yamaha Ginza Building, which just opened on February 26, 2010.

This freshly-built complex is on the site of the previous Yamaha Ginza Building and has become Yamaha’s flagship store. It contains Japan’s largest selection of instruments and sheet music, as well a studio for live events, a salon for more intimate musical performances and even a music school.

The Yamaha Hall is the result of state-of-the-art acoustic design aimed at optimising acoustic timbre and rich reverberations – even in the softest pianissimo, the sound of each instrument will clearly ring true. The real power and diverse range of musical sound can be fully experienced. In this newly built auditorium Nakamura will cover a broad range of Chopin’s work, including a sonata, mazurka, polonaise and scherzo. The experience of hearing the beautiful melodies of Chopin performed by Japan’s leading pianist in Tokyo’s newest landmark is one not to be missed.

Hiroko Nakamura Piano Recital
A special celebration of the 50th anniversary of her professional debut, and the bicentennial of Chopin’s birth
Date: Fri Mar 5, 2010
Time: 6.30pm open, 7pm start
Tickets: ¥6,000 (all seats reserved)
Website: www.yamaha.co.jp/yamahaginza/hall/

Location: New Yamaha Ginza Building, Yamaha Hall
Address: 7-9-14 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
Open: Mon-Sun 10.30am-8pm, closed New Year holiday and selected days
Website: www.yamaha.co.jp/yamahaginza/

High quality performances for a low price

The Universe of Chopin

The 6th La Folle Journée au Japon ‘Days of Enthusiasm’ music festival
Based around the Tokyo International Forum, the festival will turn the entire Marunouchi area into a concert hall. This year’s theme is ‘The Universe of Chopin’. Details haven’t been fully announced yet, but it is expected to attract a crowd of around 700,000 people. Every year tickets to the featured concerts sell out quickly, so be sure to check the website for details as they are released. The programmes for the artists who are performing will be released to the press on Wednesday February 23, and tickets will go on sale in early April.

La Folle Journée au Japon ‘Days of Enthusiasm’ Music Festival 2010 Date: Wed Apr 28-Tue May 4, 2010
Location: Tokyo International Forum (May 2-May 4)
     Across the Marunouchi area (Wed Apr 28-Tue May 4)
Concert schedule: around 170 performances
Related events: around 130 performances
Website: www.lfj.jp/lfj_2010e/

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space

Chopin from pianist Fuzjko Hemming

The ‘Kokoro no Refresh’ – or, ‘Revitalize Your Spirit’ – concert series was created to give a moment of respite to those wanting to escape the busy evening rush hour on the way home. The fourth in the series will feature Ingrid Fuzjko Hemming, whose turbulent life as a pianist has gained much media attention. It’s a charity concert to raise money for her life’s work, animal welfare. To coincide with the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth, many of his works have been included in the programme.

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space ‘4th Kokoro no Refresh Concert’
Ingrid Fuzjko Hemming Animal Welfare Charity Concert

Date: Thur Jun 3, 2010
Time: 6pm open, 6.30pm start
Location: Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, Main Hall
Tickets: S seats ¥6,000, A seats ¥4,000, B seats ¥2,000
    *All seats reserved, tickets go on sale Thur Mar 25

Be intoxicated by Chopin at Chanel Ginza

Chanel Pygmalion Days

‘Pygmalion’ is often used to refer to a person who encourages success in others by believing in their talents and actively supporting them. The founder of Chanel, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, is said to have been a Pygmalion figure for Picasso, Stravinsky, Jean Cocteau and Luchino Visconti when they were all still relatively unknown.

In that same Pygmalion spirit, the present day Chanel brand strives to support young artists, and the Chanel Nexus Hall in Ginza gives young musicians an opportunity to perform for the public. In 2010 Chanel will help six young artists, one of whom is pianist Kotaro Nagano, who will play a complete programme of Chopin in his concert on April 3. It is hard not to have high expectations of a Chopin performance from a pianist particularly chosen by and supported by Chanel.

Pygmalion Days is free, but the audience will be chosen through a ballot. Applications for the April concerts close March 5, so those who are interested should check the website as soon as possible.

Chanel Pygmalion Days Classical Concerts by Kotaro Nagano
Date: Sat Apr 3, 2010
Time: 1.30-2.30pm
Location: Chanel Ginza, Nexus Hall
Telephone: Nexus Hall administration (03)3779 4001
Open: Mon-Fri 1-8pm, Sat 12noon-6pm, closed Sun, nat. holidays
Website: www.chanel-ginza.com/nexushall/pygmalion/

Nobuyuki Tsujii performs Chopin

The Slovak Philharmonic

Nobuyuki Tsujii, who became the first Japanese person to receive top prize at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, is set to perform alongside the Slovak Philharmonic orchestra. The programme will include Chopin’s ‘Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op.11’. Tsujii’s performance under the great conductor Svarovsky is something not to miss seeing and hearing. Sadly, tickets for this event are already sold out. Tickets for Tsujii’s concerts are incredibly difficult to get a hold of, so if you are interested in catching the next performance from the gifted pianist we recommend you check his website regularly.

Slovak Philharmonic
Piano: Nobuyuki Tsujii
Date: Tue Jun 15, 2010
Time: 6.30pm open, 7pm start
Location: Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, Main Hall

Nobuyuki Tsujii’s official website: www.nobupiano1988.com/english/

Tracing Chopin’s life and works

The Bicentennial of Chopin’s Birth

This exhibition is being held in the second floor exhibition space of the Min-On Music Museum. The exhibition includes a Pleyel piano of the same type that Chopin used himself, as well as handwritten sheet music (though only a replica, a first to be exhibited). It also throws light on Chopin’s contemporaries and those who had a profound relation to him, to try to trace the kind of man Chopin really was.

Special Exhibition, 2010 ‘The Bicentennial of Chopin’s Birth’
Date: Until Sun Jul 1, 2010
Location: Min-On Music Museum, 2nd floor special exhibition space
Address: 8 Shinanomachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5362 3555
Open: Tue-Sat 11am-4pm, Sun 10am-5pm, closed Mon (Tue if Mon is a nat. holiday)
Admission: free
Website: museum.min-on.or.jp/top.html

For those who want a deeper knowledge of the composer

The Secrets of Chopin

This lecture on Chopin is being held at the Asahi Culture Centre. The main speaker will be Koji Shimoda, a music critic and pianist. The secrets of Chopin – how performers should interpret his music, and what listeners should pay special attention to for better appreciation– will be unravelled by deciphering the secret notes he wrote on the sheets of his music. The lecture is in Japanese.

The secrets of Chopin
200 years since the birth of Chopin: What you need to know when listening to and performing Chopin

Date: Mon Mar 22, 2010
Time: 1.30-3pm
Admission: ¥2,940 (members), ¥3,570 (general admission)
Location: Asahi Culture Centre Shinjuku
Address: Shinjuku Sumitomo Bldg. 4F, 2-6-1 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3344 1941
Website: www.asahiculture-shinjuku.com/

Discovering the next young talent

Chopin Piano Competition in Japan 2010

The programme for this competition is based on that of the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition, which is to be held in Warsaw later this year. The main aim is to uncover and cultivate the talent that may shine in Warsaw. It’s possible to see both the elimination rounds and the final rounds, and the finals will feature a concerto performed with a full orchestra.

First elimination round: Wed Mar 24, 2010 from 10am
Second elimination round: Sat 27 Mar, 2010 from 10am
Final selection: Mon Mar 29, 2010 from 5pm

Admission: Elimination rounds: each day ¥1,500 (¥1,000 for students)
      Final selection: ¥2,500 (¥2,000 for students)

Enquiries: The Chopin Society of Japan (03)3379 2803
Website: chopin-society-japan.com/ivent/10/03.24-29/competition2010.html

Location: Senzoku Gakuen College of Music and Junior College, Mizonokuchi Campus, Senzoku Gakuen Maeda Hall
Address: 2-3-1 Hisamoto, Takatsu, Kawasaki, Kanagawa
Website: www.senzoku.ac.jp/music/en/

Brought to you by Chopanist Rika Miyatani

All Chopin Special Recital

This is a recital will be performed by Rika Miyatani, who took home 5th prize at the 1995 International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition. The performance will take place at Asakusa’s shitamachi (downtown) wine restaurant Tri-R. The interior features a white grand piano with gold decoration; regular salon concerts are held there.

Rika Miyatani 15th Anniversary Chopin Competition Prize Special Recital
Date: Wed May 12, 2010
Time: 6pm open, 6.30pm start, dinner from 7.30-9.30pm
Admission: ¥17,000 (dinner, a soft drink and the concert, includes tax)
Location: Tri-R
Address: 2-3-7 Azumabashi, Sumida, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3622 1139
Website: www.tri-r.jp/

If you want to go back to where it all started, head for the ‘Chopin Desk’

Travel agent JTB’s high class travel service ‘Royal Road Ginza’ has set up a special Chopin Desk. To commemorate the bicentennial of Chopin’s birth, many special events and music festivals are being held in Chopin’s birthplace in Poland this year. The Chopin Desk will help you to book tickets and provide travel consulting for your Chopin journey.

Of particular interest is the ‘Chopin and his Europe International Music Festival’, which will take place throughout the entire month of August (Aug 1-Aug 31), and the prestigious International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition, which will be held from October 2- 23, 2010. After you’ve completely enjoyed all aspects of Chopin in Tokyo, get back to Chopin’s real roots with a trip to the Old Country.

JTB Royal Road Ginza, Chopin Desk
Address: Tokyo Asahi Bldg. 2F, 6-6-7 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3572 5890
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, closed Sat-Sun, nat. holidays (or the following Mon when Sunday is a nat. holiday)
Website: www.royalroad.jp/

A special collector’s note to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Chopin.

The National Bank of Poland

The National Bank of Poland is issuing a special 20 zloty note to commemorate the bicentennial of Chopin’s birth, available from February 22. This is the perfect collector’s item or special edition gift for any Chopin fan.

Website: www.nbp.pl/homen.aspx?f=/srodeken.htm

Related articles:
Hyakudan Hina-matsuri
 Competing beauty: Hina dolls vs Edo Period architecture
Luxe breakfasts on a budget
 Gourmet hotel spreads from ¥2,000
Japan’s world class sommeliers
 La Tour D'Argent Tokyo offers the best service in the Asia-Oceania region

By Kyoko Kitamura
Translated by Virginia Okno
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


1 comment Add a comment

Please, where is cafe "Chopin" in Tokio?

Posted by Paula Gulcz on Mar 18 2010 05:19

Add your comment

Copyright © 2014 Time Out Tokyo