Konnichiwa Tokyo

The first of Tokyo's two concerts began with a joyous greeting from Maestro Judd. "Konnichiwa!" he said, delighting the audience with his Japanese which prefaced an introduction of the special addition of As the Heart Soars to the evening's repertoire. And this was how the enchanting composition by Hong Kong's Wong Chun-Wai made its debut in Japan.

Also making the first ever appearance in Japan tonight was the brilliant Czech violinist Jan Mráček. He won over the hearts of those at the Tokyo Opera City today with his exuberant rendition of Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor.

Mr. Mráček played as if each pull and extension of his bow made visible a prism of infinite colours. Those in the audience could readily tell how much he truly enjoyed performing with the AYO. Between his solo parts, he wore a smile of satisfaction and pleasure as he listened, taking in the vitality of the accompanying harmony behind him.

Tonight's Mahler's Symphony No.1, Titan was just as rich and robust as it was magical and mysterious. The music opened with distant fanfares, an effect made possible by three AYO trumpet players not on stage but offstage. With a cue from the conductor whom they could only see through a monitor, they blew into their horns at perfect timing.

It was a powerful moment, a prelude to a memorable performance.

Last minute tuning in rehearsal

Jan Mráček, violin soloist, at rehearsal


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