For the 30th time this year, we had the pleasure of hosting the Ozawa International Music Academy in the music hall across from the Okushiga Kogen Hotel. For those who don’t know him, Seiji Ozawa is an Emmy nominated, world renowned maestro (translation: music conductor) who served as director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. And, lucky for us, he has chosen our Okushiga Kogen Hotel in Nagano, Japan, to host an annual summer concert.
The musicians are young collegiate string players from across East Asia who practice together for 3 weeks under Seiji Ozawa right in Okushiga, and finish their summer camp with 2 concerts; one on July 28th and another on August 8th. This year, we asked the Academy to open up their rehearsals to the public, a request they kindly granted. So, for this 3-week period, Okushiga Kogen Hotel guests were able to venture into the music hall, located just across from the hotel, and hear exquisite classical melodies all day long. The beauty of this music week was a first for us. We just started managing the Okushiga Kogen Hotel this year and didn’t know what to expect.
On the first day of rehearsals, we silently tiptoed into the music hall and braved a seat near the front. It was an intimate experience. We were so close to the musicians that we could see all their little facial expressions while playing. And the music, it was gorgeous!! For the 2 weeks leading up to the first concert, we made it a habit to bring our laptops to the music hall, usually filled with spectators, and work while listening to the great players, and that great music. Cool, right?!
The 2 concerts, while less intimate, were so powerful. 6 quartets each performed one piece by a different composer, then all musicians played together in a harmonious chamber symphony. We understand why people travel from across Japan just for these concerts.
For us, the Ozawa Music Festival was an awesome experience. So much so, that we have already scheduled one of the leading quartets from the Festival to play in December, and are in the process of scheduling more musical, but not just classical, events! We will, of course, keep you updated, both on our website and this blog!