The Australian Chamber Orchestra visited Niseko this past weekend, giving four performances at the Hilton, Hanazono 308 and the mountain centre in Hirafu. Artistic Director Richard Tognetti said it was very important to him and his orchestra to return this year to show their solidarity with the Japanese people. Many musicians and bands had pulled out from their shows all across Japan in the aftermath of March 11.
It was their third consecutive year playing for the Niseko Winter Music Festival, and Richard Tognetti confirmed they were planning on continuing this annual event.
The Niseko Music Festival kicked off with the performance of “Winter” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which Richard said had become their tradition when playing in Niseko. During the performance at the Hilton they also disclosed other reasons why they love returning to Niseko year after year – the snow and the lifestyle. The orchestra shared stories about their adventures on the mountain troughout the evening, telling how one of the members nearly didn’t make it back for the show because he got lost.
The ACO was supported by famous Japanese guitarist Yasuji Ohagi and the local Koryu-Yotei Daiko drummers. The encore performance at the Hilton Niseko Village was “Summer” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and Richard joked that it felt highly inappropriate with the three meters of snow outside.
Part of the proceeds from the Winter Festival will be donated to the School Music Revival, a Tohoku relief project that helps children from the disaster zone with the power of music.