Discover the Japanese classical music tradition in Amare

Foto: Marco Borggreve

Twice this season, Nieuwe Kerk offers a concert centring on a contemporary Japanese composer. The first features Dai Fujikura, the second Toshio Hosokawa. Or if you prefer older music, then be sure to note the performance of Bach’s Hohe Messe by the Bach Collegium Japan. One thing is clear: this season The Hague can enjoy the fruits of the rich tradition of classical music in Japan.

But how did this culture come to be? In Bach’s own time, no one would have thought that music by a German composer would one day be performed by musicians on the other side of the world. Besides, Japan has always had its very own music culture.

The turnaround occurred during the so-called Meiji restoration, midway the 19th century. Extremely isolated up until that point, Japan then for the first time opened its doors to European influences. And that included European classical music. Names like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Wagner started doing the rounds, and the first symphony concert took place on 19 February, in Tokyo. 

© National Museum of Asian Art

Today Japan represents 20% of the global market for classical music. Tokyo is home to more professional orchestras than any other city, and the country produces an endless flow of world-class soloists, conductors and composers. Composers who often not only take their cue from the western music traditions, but also from the Japanese traditions.

Curious to find out what the result sounds like? Then be sure to buy tickets for the concerts by the New European Ensemble, featuring Japanese composers.

Discover Japanese classical music: 


New European Ensemble

Sun 12 Mar '23 19:30

Dai Fujikura

New European Ensemble

Fri 18 Nov '22 20:15 - 22:25

Hohe Messe

Bach Collegium Japan

Sat 12 Nov '22 20:00 - 22:10

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