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News Release

  • No.12589(2016/2/22)

Supporting Recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake:
Launch of the TOMODACHI Suntory Fukushima Mirai Music Program

Students from Fukushima Futaba Mirai Gakuen High School to Perform with the New York Philharmonic

Suntory Holdings Limited (Suntory) has partnered with the TOMODACHI Initiative, a public-private partnership between the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy Tokyo to launch the TOMODACHI Suntory Fukushima Mirai Music Program from February 28, 2016 as part of Suntory Group's "Suntory Tohoku Sun-Sun Project," which supports recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Suntory partnered with the TOMODACHI Initiative to establish the TOMODACHI Suntory Music Scholarship Fund in 2013. To date, a total of six students (including two from the Tohoku Region), have received scholarships to three notable music schools* in the United States.
To provide children with more opportunities to “rehabilitate their hearts” through music, the TOMODACHI Suntory Fukushima Mirai Music Program will be recruiting students from the Music club of Fukushima Futaba Mirai Gakuen High School*, a school that was established in April 2015 as a “Super Global High School.” The students will compose original music and receive instruction from globally established composer and conductor, Takehito Shimazu, while in Japan. Once the students travel to the United States in Mid-August, they will participate in a workshop with the world renowned New York Philharmonic while homestaying in NewYork City. Through this program, the hope is for the students to gain a global perspective while realizing their next steps into making their dreams a reality. 

*1 The Juilliard School, Berklee College of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music

*2 After the Great East Japan Earthquake, the 5 high schools that were located in Fukushima prefecture, Futaba-gun(Futaba High School, Namie High School, Namie High School Tsushima School, Tomioka High School, and Futaba Shoyo High School) tried to reopen their schools, but classes were unable to resume at the original school building. Therefore, in April 2015, after a dialogue between the people of Fukushima prefecture and Futaba-gun Hironomachi, this school was opened as a middle school and high school. In addition, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology designated the school as a “Super Global High School,” a school that fosters the next generation of global leaders.

“We continue to provide Great East Japan Earthquake recovery assistance through our programs, "Activities to Support Recovery of the Fishing Industry," "Youth Support Initiatives," "Support for Challenged Sports (for Persons with Disabilities)" and "Support through Culture, the Arts, and Sports," which thus far have totaled 10.8 billion yen since the earthquake,” said Tomomi Fukumoto, Executive Officer of Suntory. “We appreciate that the world renowned New York Philharmonic will collaborate with us for the TOMODACHI Suntory Fukushima Mirai Music Program. In carrying out this program, Suntory Hall, which is dedicated to concerts and has been visited several times by the New York Philharmonic, will be offering support as its advisor. It is our wish that through this program, high school students of the Tohoku region will not only learn performance skills but also gain an opportunity to dream and hope for the future through interaction with music lovers in the U.S. and Japan. We have no greater wish than that one day, they will flourish as young leaders contributing to the future of the U.S. and Japan, and to the recovery of the disaster affected areas.”

“My favorite part about music is that it saves me and does not betray me no matter what. There are different types of music for various situations in my life and it calms me. When the Great East Japan Earthquake happened, when there were times of great sadness during my life, music fulfilled me.” said the student of Fukushima Futaba Mirai Gakuen High School. “Whether I play an instrument by myself or within a group, music takes my mind off of things. During the time of the earthquake and disaster, listening to the songs played by my favorite music group encouraged me in many ways, as well as the songs that were created to support recovery after the disaster. Having being saved from various kinds of music, I became interested in music. I was not a huge fan of music before, but now it is a big part of my life. Although I have lost many things because of the disaster, there are many things that I encountered and gained from the experience.”

The TOMODACHI Suntory Fukushima Mirai Music Program

▼ HOST
Suntory Holdings Limited
The TOMODACHI Initiative (the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy Tokyo)

▼ IN COOPERATION WITH
Suntory Hall
New York Philharmonic

▼ ELIGIBILITY
Total of Nine students from the music club of Fukushima Futaba Mirai Gakuen High School (as of February 28, 2016)

▼SCHEDULE (tentative)
Sunday, February 28, 2016
First Workshop
Together with composer and conductor, Takehito Shimazu, participants will discuss their dreams and create a concept for developing an original music composition
(At Fukushima Futaba Mirai Gakuen High School)

Post Sunday, February 28, 2016
Compose original music and begin practice
(At Fukushima Futaba Mirai Gakuen High School)

Mid-August, 2016
Students travel to the United States and participate in a workshop with the New York Philharmonic

About the TOMODACHI Initiative
The TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership between the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Born out of support for Japan's recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, TOMODACHI invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as leadership programs. We seek to foster a "TOMODACHI Generation" of young American and Japanese leaders who are committed to and engaged in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations, appreciate each other's countries and cultures, and possess the global skills and mindsets needed to contribute to and thrive in a more cooperative, prosperous, secure world. Website: http://tomodachi.org/

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