The 1st Asian Youth Orchestra Festival

June 30 (Friday) - July 2 (Sunday), 2023
Zhong-Li Arts Center, Taoyuan City, Taiwan

Conductor: Joe Yamaji (Music Director of JYO), Ting-Hung Chang
Akihiro Miura (Concert Master, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra)
Concert Program
A. Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World,” Op.95
J. S. Bach: Violin Concerto No.2 in E major, BWV1042 (Violin Solo: Mr. Akihiro Miura)
Taiwanese Folk Song, etc.

Due to the effects of the new coronavirus that began about three years ago, international exchange through music continued to be severely restricted. However, the “1st Asian Youth Orchestra Festival” has been realized in Taiwan. The festival was attended by participants from Korea, Singapore, and other countries, and about 20 people from Japan, primarily young members in their teens and 20s, many of whom were traveling abroad for the first time in a long time or performing with overseas members for the first time.

The host orchestra was the “JYO” based in Taoyuan City, Taiwan. The JYO includes Mr. Chang Ting-Hung, who conducted the concert, and other members (including graduates) who have participated in the Toyota Youth Orchestra Camp (TYOC) in the past and have experience in international exchange through performances by junior orchestras.

The orchestra has members (including graduates) who have participated in the Toyota Youth Orchestra Camp (TYOC) in the past and have experience in international exchange through their performances. And this time, the participating members from Korea and Singapore were also TYOC graduates. Because of this experience, they had a special feeling about this concert.
They wonder if “what they learned at TYOC can be applied in Taiwan.” “Why perform New World in Taiwan?” The participants had the above thoughts, and the festival day arrived with a sense of the significance of holding such an orchestra festival in Taiwan and the joy of sharing music with their friends once again.

The festival began with the guest concertmaster, Akihiro Miura (Concertmaster of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra), who has been teaching at TYOC for many years. Many members were not used to playing in an ensemble, and there was much tension. However, as they reunited with their friends for the first time in many years and shared updates and hopes for the future, they deepened their mutual understanding, improving their performances remarkably.

The concert began with three pieces starring young musicians (the youngest being a 4-year-old boy!) who have little experience playing instruments and cannot participate in a full-fledged orchestra.

The following piece was J.S. Bach’s “Violin Concerto No. 2” with Mr. Miura. Since the orchestra was composed mainly of members who had shared their experiences at TYOC, it felt like a reunion.

In the second half, the orchestra members’ tension and the audience’s anticipation reached a climax when Dvořák’s “From the New World” was performed. Forty minutes later, after much rapturous applause and “bravos” of praise, the encore performance of the Taiwanese folk song “Green High Mountain” and the final part of the overture to “William Tell” (“March of the Swiss Army”) brought the show to a close with a resounding success!

The “1st Asian Youth Orchestra Festival” was a fantastic opportunity to realize the depth of bonds that have overcome the stagnation caused by the Corona disaster and the bright future ahead, as the young people of Asia formed a new circle of exchange and shared their passion. Mr. Joe Yamaji, conductor and musical director of the JYO,reflected on the event, “This concert truly allowed everyone to experience a sense of unity through music. We could never have imagined that such a passionate concert could be held in Taiwan. We were also convinced that a new bond is growing among the next generation of young people. New energy is spontaneously arising.”

We are grateful for the support of many people, including the JYO. In particular, Ms.Soully Chang, the Chairman of the JYO, and Ms. Mirei Yamaji have long contributed to the cooperation between amateur orchestras in Taiwan and Japan, as well as in other countries worldwide. They have made a great effort in managing this year’s festival, including coordinating members from Asian countries and local arrangements. Want to express our sincere appreciation.

We look forward to the day when we can perform with you again on the beautiful musical stage in Taiwan. NPO-WFAO will continue to support the development of international exchange through musical activities!