Last Saturday, Dudamel Orchestra musicians and their parents were invited to a rehearsal of the Fukushima Youth Sinfonietta on at Symphony Hall. After the rehearsal, our students met the Japanese student musicians and exchange small gifts. This was an excellent opportunity for Conservatory Lab students to see what music programs from all over the world look like! It was a day of cultural exchange and mutual understanding between our students and the young musicians from Japan. In the spirit of international friendship and El Sistema, our students were exemplary guests of the Fukushima Youth Sinfonietta!
The Fukushima Youth Sinfonietta was created by students from four Fukushima high schools in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes/tsunami/nuclear disasters of 2011. Determined to aid in the recovery of their devastated communities, the students found solace in music. They asked pianist Panos Karan and flute virtuoso Zach Tarpagos, two professional musicians visiting from Greece, to help them form an orchestra. Since 2011, Karan and Tarpagos have returned nearly twenty times to Fukushima to coach the orchestra and have invited other international musicians from Europe, the U.S., and India to join in working with the FYS. The orchestra has contributed significantly to the Japanese recovery, bringing confidence and hope to the devastated area, and it has been widely recognized as a leading symbol of communal cohesion during the period of rebuilding. In April 2014, the British charity Keys of Change invited the FYS to London for a highly successful performance at Queen Elizabeth Hall. In August 2015, the FYS made its Tokyo debut in a major concert at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, in the presence of the Empress of Japan.