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News release

No.she017June 27, 2019

Suntory Hall Summer Festival 2019
August 23 – 31, 2019 at Suntory Hall, Tokyo

Suntory Hall Summer Festival 2019, the annual focus on international contemporary music, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the SUNTORY FOUNDATION for the ARTS. This year’s festival takes place on August 23 – 31, and highlights include the Japanese premiere of George Benjamin’s highly acclaimed opera “Written on Skin” conducted by Kazushi Ono, and the world premiere of a new work for violin and orchestra by Swiss composer Michael Jarrell (commissioned by Suntory Hall) with celebrated French violinist Renaud Capuçon. As in previous years, the festival is formed of three different strands: (1) “The Producer Series”, (2) “Theme Composer” as part of the “Suntory Hall International Program for Music Composition” series, and (3) “Yasushi Akutagawa Suntory Award for Music Composition”.
This year’s program is as follows:

  1. “The Producer Series: Kazushi Ono”
    This year, Suntory Hall welcomes internationally renowned conductor Kazushi Ono to curate the Producer Series. As the centerpiece of the series, he has chosen to stage the much-awaited Japanese premiere of George Benjamin’s opera “Written on Skin” (August 28, 29, Main Hall), conducting the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra of which he is Music Director. Ono has a wealth of experience in opera and currently he is also the Artistic Director of Opera at the New National Theatre Tokyo. Originally premiered at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 2012, “Written on Skin” has become one of the most frequently performed of 21st century operas. The cast includes American baritone Andrew Schroeder in the role of the Protector, Danish coloratura soprano Susanne Elmark as Agnès, and leading Japanese countertenor Daichi Fujiki as the Boy / Angel. It will be semi-staged with Creative Direction and Design by Shizuka Hariu.
    Alongside the opera performances, Ono has devised a chamber music concert featuring recent compositions by eminent international composers: Mark-Anthony Turnage, Toshio Hosokawa, Salvatore Sciarrino, Wolfgang Rihm, and Magnus Lindberg (August 24, Blue Rose - Small Hall).
  2. “Suntory Hall International Program for Music Composition” was inaugurated in 1987 under the supervision of Toru Takemitsu, and each year, it invites a different “Theme Composer” and commissions him / her a new orchestral work that is premiered during the Summer Festival. This year’s theme composer, chosen by the current series Director Toshio Hosokawa, is Michael Jarrell, widely regarded as the most important Swiss composer of his generation. In fact, Hosokawa and Jarrell have known each other since their student days over thirty years ago, and Hosokawa says that Jarrell’s technical skill of music writing is second to none.
    There are two concerts featuring Jarrell’s music: the chamber music concert presents his solo and ensemble works of the last thirty years (August 26, Blue Rose - Small Hall), and the orchestral concert includes the world premiere of his new work for violin and orchestra, with Renaud Capuçon as soloist and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pascal Rophè (August 30, Main Hall). Furthermore, Jarrell will hold a compositional workshop, moderated by Toshio Hosokawa, where he will give advice to young aspiring composers (August 25, Blue Rose - Small Hall). This event is open to the public.
    More about the International Program for Music Composition here:
  3. The third strand of the Summer Festival is the “Yasushi Akutagawa Suntory Award for Music Composition” (August 31, Main Hall). Founded in honor of the composer Yasushi Akutagawa in 1990, the award is given to the most notable orchestral work premiered during the previous year. Following the performance of the three nominated works, the judging process is held on stage in public. The winner receives JPY1,500,000 as well as a commission for a new orchestral work to be performed in 2021. The works of this year’s three finalists, Yasutaki Inamori, Hiromichi Kitazume and Haruyuki Suzuki, will be performed by Yoichi Sugiyama and the New Japan Philharmonic, preceded by the world premiere of the commissioned work “Memory of Clouds” for Violoncello and Orchestra by Hirofumi Mogi, winner in 2017. This year’s judges are Yumi Saiki, Yûta Bandoh, and Satoshi Minami.

For further information and press photos, please contact:
Public Relations, Suntory Hall