Tomorrow, we will be streaming the second concert in our #DigitalTour series, this time from Yamaha’s beautiful, wood-panelled piano hall in the heart of London’s Soho. On a personal note, I’m absolutely thrilled that we chose to present a Japan-specific programme for this concert, including world-premieres by two Japanese composers, and I’ve answered some questions on our relationship with Japan below.
Please join us for the stream (available until New Year’s Eve), and let us know what you think on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@kingssingers).
The King’s Singers have enjoyed a special relationship with Japan over the decades. I remember David Hurley talking fondly of the legendary Rolex tour in the 90’s with Carlo Curley, where they got the full celebrity treatment – and yes, they did get to keep their Rolexes! I also recently saw from the group’s VHS archive (which we’re in the process of digitalising) a highly entertaining group appearance from a few years earlier on a stereotypical Japanese TV show featuring six colourful bowties, much laughter, a plug from Simon Carrington for that evening’s concert in Osaka Symphony Hall, an extremely attentive Japanese translator and an all-too familiar rendition of Bob Chilcott’s arrangement of Greensleeves with Bruce (and Al) singing the solo.
One of the exciting things about The King’s Singers is that, because we are a partnership, the six of us encourage each other to bring onboard our personal, musical and cultural passions and interests which we as a group can then develop and positively integrate into our concerts, recordings and touring schedule. As is the case with Chris and his Kiwi heritage when we tour New Zealand, or Johnny and his Austrian heritage when we tour German-speaking countries, I have a family link to Japan since I am half-Japanese, so my colleagues and I have worked very hard since I joined the group in 2014 to grow and cultivate TKS’ special relationship with Japan through everything we do.
Our latest headline project, called ‘Finding Harmony’, is all about the power that music has to bring people together, particularly through singing together in difficult times. ‘Finding Harmony’ focuses on various episodes of this happening across the world and throughout time, and of course Japan is no exception with its ongoing natural disasters and scarily recent history of atomic bombs. We therefore decided to adapt our ‘Finding Harmony’ concept for this Japan tour and tailor it to the Japanese-friendly title of ‘Heiwa’ (meaning ‘Peace and Harmony’), which for us resonates so nicely both with Japanese culture, and also with ‘Reiwa’, the name of the new Imperial Era, which we celebrated by way of a special concert in Tokyo last year.
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