In anticipation of our first visit to her home country in eight years, ACO violinist Aiko Goto explains why she’s looking forward to returning to Japan with her fellow ACO musicians.
Tell us about the Japan tour! What will you be playing, and how do you think your home audience will receive the ACO?
I’m so delighted that we [the ACO] are going back to perform in Tokyo again. We haven’t played there since 2011. When I go back to Japan to visit family and play in music festivals, my friends and family keep asking me, “When are the ACO coming back to play for us? We haven’t forgotten about the ACO played at Kioi Hall and Hakuju Hall in Tokyo!” So I’ve already mentioned them that we are playing in Tokyo in May and they were so thrilled to hear it!
I’m really looking forward to playing two different concert programs for Japanese audiences, especially as I’ll have so many friends, relatives and family in the audience at Tokyo.
On 29 May we’ll perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with Joseph and James Tawadros as guest soloists on oud and percussion. I think Japanese audiences will think is a little unusual! They of course know Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but our Four Seasons program includes Joseph’s original compositions interspersed with Vivaldi’s music. It makes for very exciting, eccentric, and passionate listening.
The second concert on 30 May includes Kilar’s Orawa, Vasks’ Vox Amoris, Bach’s Ricercar, and Bartók’s Divertimento. This is a very ACO-style program, and I think that the audience will really enjoy it – especially Richard’s solo performance in the Vasks piece.
We understand you’ll also be returning to the music college you studied at for some education programs while you’re there? Can you tell us a little about this?
I studied at the Toho Gakuen Music High School and the Toho Gakuen Music College.
Both were great learning environments for music skills, and ensemble and orchestra classes. So during this trip my ACO colleagues Helena Rathbone, Timo-Veikko ‘Tipi’ Valve, Maxime Bibeau, and I are going to the Toho Gakuen Music High School to give some music workshops with the students there! It will be a very special experience to teach and play with the students at my old school.
Tokyo’s such an interesting city. Do you have anything special planned for the orchestra during your stay?
We probably don’t have much time for sightseeing while we’re in Japan, but I’m sure most of us will do lots of walking in Tokyo and there’s definitely going to be some shopping! I’m going to make a list of my favourite shops and walking spots in Tokyo for my colleagues.
Last time we were in Japan we had a karaoke party on the last evening. There have been multiple requests to finish this tour in the same way, so we’ll have to wait and see…
The short tour of Japan will begin on May 28, before the Orchestra return home for a final performance in Darwin with Joseph and James Tawadros before preparing for their explosive collaboration with Steven Isserlis.
The Orchestra will be accompanied by a photographer during the trip, so keep an eye on our Instagram account @austchamberorchestra for photos across the week.