Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Shigeaki Saegusa and Mr. Shinozaki

Last night, Mizuka, Sachiko-mama and I went to see the special New Years performance produced by our friend Shigeaki Saegusa. This was the 5th year of the event where the theme of each year is to perform Beethoven's 1st through 9th Symphonies in one day as we pass into the New Year.

The event started at 2PM on December 31st and ended at 1AM on January the 1st. The conductor was Kenichiro Kobayashi and the Concert Master was Mr. Shinozaki. There were a number of other concert masters playing various roles in the orchestra which was quite an all-star group selected from orchestras around Japan. There were several intermissions, but basically the same orchestra and conductor performed non-stop for the whole day. Amazingly, they seemed to get more and more energized together with the audience as we approached the end.

It was one of the most inspiring performances I've seen in a long time. Mr. Kobayashi was amazing as was the whole orchestra. Also, the notion of doing all of the symphonies in order seemed strangely Japanese to me. I reflected on some of the similarities between German and Japanese aesthetics as I watched the synchronized orchestra move through the symphonies.

Saegusa and Shinosaki, shown above, discussed how they felt like a small part of people who continue to work on performing Beethoven and how people like them would continue to perform Beethoven a hundred years from now.


I studied classical piano in uni, and Beethoven was one of my specialties. So I was quite passionate about Beethoven back then. However, I really don't know if I'd recommend this kind of marathon. There is a lot going on in the music, and I don't see how people can maintain concentration so long. Note that Wagner's Ring (16 hours, 4 parts) is usually performed over at least 4 days.

since i cannot comment on the performance, obviously, i am commenting on the view:

what an amazing auditorium!