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  • March 14, 2013

LUCERNE FESTIVAL 2013 to be held in Matsushima

Tokyo (SCCIJ) - At the Swiss Embassy in Tokyo, the Lucerne Festival Ark Nova project has formally been launched in association with a Japanese concert management company. Two years have passed since the unforgettable earthquake and tsunami occurred in East Japan. As time goes by and the momentum for support of reconstruction wanes, the project aims to bring hope through music to regions afflicted by the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck on March 11, 2011. The concerts will be held this autumn in Matsushima-machi, Miyagi Prefecture.

New Noah's Ark = Ark Nova

International architect Arata Isozaki has collaborated with India native and UK resident sculptor Anish Kapoor to develop a mobile concert hall with a capacity of 500 people. In this hall and the surrounding area, called ARK NOVA, various programs will be held during the period, blending performances of world artists, centered around LUCERNE FESTIVAL, and musical expression activities of the Tohoku region.   

LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA was initiated immediately after the great earthquake by LUCERNE FESTIVAL, the Swiss international music festival. “ARK” as in “Noah’s Ark,” and NOVA, meaning “new.” In the famous great flood legend of the Old Testament / Book of Genesis, Noah boards his family and animals on an ark, and after the floodwater recedes, a rainbow is formed.  

"In a nod to this story, we named the Project “new ark” = ARK NOVA with the hope that it will become a symbol of recovery immediately after the great earthquake disaster", said Michael Haefliger, Artistic and Executive Director of Lucerne Festival, at the official launch of the project in Tokyo.

(from left to right) Masahide Kajimoto (Ark Nova Executive Committee Chairman), Michael Haefliger (Artistic and Executive Director Lucerne Festival), Urs Bucher (Swiss Ambassador in Japan, Urs Bucher), Shinobu Nakanishi (Administrator) (SCCIJ)

Ark packed with music and arts

"ARK NOVA obviously can’t carry people and animals to escape from disaster, but we conceived the ark to travel packed with music and various arts, from the perspective of long-term rebuilding of culture and spirit", he said. The project makers also recalled a key concept that Japanese folklorist Shinobu Orikuchi coined as “marebito (sacred guests).”  

This is the concept that “marebito” from foreign lands brought religions and festivals and revitalized society as a result. This could also be considered the principle of how the arts came into existence. ARK NOVA will visit all over the disaster regions as a “marebito” and generate activities putting the spotlight on each location as it interacts with locals. "Although the Project was born as a result of the earthquake, we aim to develop a structure that can extend beyond rebuilding to create “ARS NOVA,” meaning “new arts", Haefliger announced.

Model of the ARK NOVA concert hall

Outline of Concert Hall

The concert hall ARK NOVA created by Arata Isozaki and Anish Kapoor is an air-inflated membrane structure equipped with the necessary stage and sound equipment. The membrane can be folded up and the equipment dismantled and loaded on a truck, so they can be brought to each site.  

The interior is a single uninterrupted space which, depending on the arrangement of equipment, is a multistage format which can accommodate various events from orchestras to chamber music, jazz, performing arts or exhibitions. It is envisioned to seat 500 during an orchestra performance, and is planned to have a width of 30 meter, length of 36 meter and maximum height of 18 meter.

Michael Haefliger, Artistic and Executive Director Lucern Festival at the Swiss embassy press conference (click to enlarge)

Music Program

LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA 2013 in Matsushima will consist of a program overseen by LUCERNE FESTIVAL and a program put together from Tohoku, including traditional arts, citizens and children. In addition, there will be special programs by internationally active artists and musicians such as Ryuichi Sakamoto who approve of the project.  

■PROGRAM 1: Program is overseen by LUCERNE FESTIVAL. Performances by international musicians are planned, focusing on classical music, including LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA and YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF CARACAS.  

■PROGRAM 2: A program of music and the community coming together, sent from Tohoku to the world. Performance by the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra is planned. Besides classical music, there will be Music Program with Children, Citizen’s Program and Traditional Program.  

During the festival, children in the afflicted Tohoku regions will perform various genres of musical expression, including wind ensembles, orchestras and Rock/Pop music, as well as traditional arts and performances themed on the earthquake disaster (plays, musicals). Joint performances with artists such as Ryuichi Sakamoto are also planned.

Swiss Ambassador in Japan, Urs Bucher, at the press conference

Citizens' events in Matsushima

A music program open to all people who love music will be implemented. In collaboration with the Jozenji Streetjazz Festival, Japan’s largest citizen’s music festival held every autumn in Sendai, the citizen’s events are planned to envelop the whole town of Matsushima in music.  

The Tohoku region is rich in folk arts, including drums (TAIKO) and Shinto music (Kagura), and a variety of folkways are expanding. The traditional program will gather Shinto music groups of each area and be centered on the traditional arts rooted in the Tohoku region, and top talent in the folk performing arts will be drawn from all over the country.  

Zuiganji Cedar Project

The beautiful pathway surrounded by cedar forests at Zuiganji Temple, a symbol of Matsushima, was a beloved presence to locals over the years. Sadly, many of the trees were trimmed because of tsunami damage and ground sinkage. LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA conceived the idea of effectively using the wood as materials for acoustic reflectors/boards and chairs in the ARK NOVA hall to revive those cedars.  

Zuiganji Temple has agreed with this concept, and has authorized use of the precious cedarwood. Production will be in collaboration with Forest Owner’s Cooperative Association of Miyagi Chuo and Ishinomaki Laboratory, which is located in Ishinomaki city, one of the regions hit hardest by the disaster.  

Donation possibility

A broad range of projects conducted by LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA are extensively supported by generous assistance from individuals, enterprises and associations. LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA Fund serves as a contact point and a facility to offer information on various support services. Secretariat: KAHOKU SHIMPO PUBLISHING CO.

About Donation

Bank: 77 bank
Branch code: 100
Account number: 8012687
Account name: ARK NOVA KIKIN  

 

Photos: (from left to right) Masahide Kajimoto (Ark Nova Executive Committee Chairman), Michael Haefliger (Artistic and Executive Director Lucerne Festival), Urs Bucher (Swiss Ambassador in Japan, Urs Bucher), Shinobu Nakanishi (Administrator) (SCCIJ)    

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