BSO tour of Japan is set for September

Private money and grants to pay for trip to Asia

April 10, 2002|By Tim Smith | Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will head to Japan on Sept. 24 for a two-week, seven-concert tour, less than a year after its visit to Europe with music director Yuri Temirkanov. This will be the orchestra's third trip to Japan, following tours with former music director David Zinman in 1994 and 1997.

"It's always a pleasure to go to Japan," Temirkanov said yesterday. "The public is very good, and the [tour] organization is fantastic. Nowhere in the world are tours organized so well."

The price tag for the trip is estimated at $2 million, roughly the same amount as the three-week European tour last fall. Funding will come from corporate and private underwriting, grants from state and local governments, and concert fees paid by presenters in Japan.

"We are not ready to announce all the details, but we are confident that we'll raise the money and that the costs will be completely covered," BSO president John Gidwitz said.

Although the orchestra has been in a fiscal belt-tightening mode this season (financial constraints were said to be one reason for disbanding the BSO Chorus), Gidwitz said that the Japan tour would not adversely affect the overall budget.

"That's because the tour money is not coming out of funds that would be available for other activities," he said. "The funding is specifically earmarked for touring."

Temirkanov has chosen all-German repertoire for the tour. As was the case during his European programs with the BSO, symphonies by Beethoven (No. 7) and Brahms (No. 4) will be featured. Two orchestral items from German opera - Weber's Overture to Oberon and Strauss' Suite from Der Rosenkavalier - also are on tap.

Violinist Pamela Frank, who had to cancel her scheduled participation in the BSO's 2001 European tour due to an injury, will join the orchestra in performances of Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 in Japan. Other programs will showcase a Japanese artist, Michie Koyama, in performances of Schumann's Piano Concerto.

Temirkanov is a well-known figure on Japan's classical music scene, having toured frequently there with his other orchestra, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. On most of those visits, he has focused on Russian repertoire.

"Now they'll learn that I can conduct something else," he said.

The first concert is set for Sept. 27 in Tama, outside of Tokyo. There will be two concerts in Tokyo, one at Suntory Hall (Sept. 28), the second in Opera City Hall on the last night of the tour (Oct. 4). Other cities on the itinerary: Osaka, Yokohama, Tokuyama and Niigata.

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