Music: Preparing for Japan

Renowned Japanese Conductor Tomomi Nishimoto arrives in Israel to work with The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

November 10, 2016 18:16
2 minute read.
Tomomi Nishimoto

Japanese Conductor Tomomi Nishimoto. (photo credit: HIDEKI SHIOZAWA)

The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra will soon embark on its Japanese tour to perform 12 concerts under conductors Tomomi Nishimoto and Hisayoshi Inoue. Cellist Dmitry Yablosky and two local pianists will join the orchestra. But before that, as part of a preparation for the tour, renowned Japanese maestra Nishimoto will lead the orchestra in a concert on November 12 at the Jerusalem Theater. The program features Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B Minor and Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.

Born in Osaka, Nishimoto started her piano studies under her mother’s guidance at the age of three. After receiving her bachelor of music degree in composition from the Osaka College of Music, she continued her conducting studies the Saint Petersburg State Conservatory. She has conducted many famous orchestras in Japan and in Europe and received several awards.

Quite often musicians switch to conducting after establishing a solid solo career, but that was not the case for Nishimoto, who answers the questions sent to her on the eve of her Jerusalem debut.

“When I was 17 years old, as new green leaves sprouted, I saw the maple leaves creating shadows from the sunlight. Each leaf swayed, then each tree, and finally the mountain swayed. I was incredibly moved to see this moment of beauty. I actually saw the wind that we normally cannot see. Instead of performing alone in the world, I had the insight that ‘to live’ is to create together with diverse people in the world,” she recounts.

Why did she choose the Saint Petersburg Conservatory to study conducting? “Since I was a child, I was very impressed by the music performed by Jewish musicians.

Due to that influence, I chose to study in Russia.”

Speaking about her musical agenda, she says that “The local audience demands Western classical music, but my vision and purpose are to unite Asia into one through culture and art. I currently serve as the artistic director and principal conductor of IlluminArt, a group formed of orchestra, opera, ballet and chorus. We work on orchestration of old songs of Japan and Asia, as well as old dances performed together.”

Through her work, Nishimoto popularizes classical music.

“Currently I compose original classical music for idol groups [young pop bands]. Because of this, the number of classical music fans among teens and 20s is increasing. I have also traveled to 30 countries to see and feel the architecture and the atmosphere of the period in which each classical composer lived. I want to convey the scenery and the values through music to the people of Asia,” she explains.

“I am always reading historical books with various perspectives; I read carefully but without delving too deep. Right now the Renaissance period is the most attractive to me,” she says.

When asked what is important for her as a conductor, Nishimoto concludes, “A dialogue with the composer. Most composers are no longer living, but through their scores I can have a dialogue with them. Also I respect and love all the musicians who perform with me. The same goes for the audience, with which I share the creation of space and time.

The JSO concert takes place on November 12 at 8 p.m. at the Jerusalem Theater.

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