Studying Western music for a long time, I have felt a strong sense of closeness to Austria and longed to it. It is the place where a number of maestros with great works and achievements, and also where many of my fellow musicians work.
The history of Aonogahara camp –a hundred years ago POWs of the Austro-Hungarian Empire lived there for more than four years, leading to cultural interactions with the local Japanese–greatly aroused my interest.
Now I am convinced that widely telling the unknown history of the camp in Kasai and ‘proofs’ of their life to the world will play a key role in deepening the bonds between Japan and Austria in the future. It seems that music was inevitable for the soldiers among other cultural activities. Also, there is no denying that they promoted the introduction of Western music to Japan, as can be seen in the case of Bando POW Camp in Tokushima, where Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was first performed in Japan.
How were they feeling when they were playing music in Japan, thousands of miles away from their mother country?
With such imagination in mind, I would like to contribute to the promotion of the amity between our countries through music and the operation of the project, appreciating that we can enjoy masterpieces today.
Conductor/Sereno Music Group President