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Seasons Greetings
from the
Anglo-Japanese Society of Wessex

An Unincorporated Association

Honorary Patrons:
Alexander Rosenblatt, George Logan (Dr Evadne Hinge), Michael Soumei Coxall, Kazue Yanagida

Japan Representative:
Kazue Yanagida

Please see Links for more information on our patrons

Special Advisor:
Jackie Wright

Director:
Godfrey King

Web Site:
Phil Ronan, Steve Rice

Established 1996

'MUSIC AS A WHOLE'

Music school for children & adults with the
Alexander Technique

Ryoko Izutsu – Director
Piano & Alexander Technique teacher
E-mail: i...@musicasawhole.com
Web: www.musicasawhole.com/home
Mobile: +44 (0) 75 38188537

 

 

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For more than 5 years Kallkwik have looked after AJSW's printing needs for which we sincerely thank them

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Annual Reviews

See Godfrey's Blog for AJSW Review 2013 / 2014 and previous years.

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Pascal's Triangle

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Carol I Need You (click to play video)

See Pascal's Triangle feature on our Audio and Video Archive page.

Musician's Chapel Dedication

See the Musicians Chapel dedication January 2nd, 1955 on our Events page.

What we do

GODFREY KING (Director) AJSW REPRESENTATIVE IN UK

KAZUE YANAGIDA (Honorary Patron) AJSW REPRESENTATIVE IN JAPAN
Contact: kazu...@yahoo.co.jp
柳田 和江(名誉パトロン)AJSW日本代表
連絡先:kazu...@yahoo.co.jp

Click here for biography

Godfrey’s Blog

AJSW Review 2013 / 2014

January 4th, 2015

A TIME TO PONDER AND A TIME TO WONDER! 

Chimp Pondering

As I start writing New Year’s Eve 2014 is fast approaching…..a choice on the main TV channels of Queen, Jools Holland and with a dose of Abba just finished on BBC4 and Ch 5 to take up the slack at midnight with another dose. On Sky I could watch Fireworks and other channels repeats of this or that and old films. So little change there in the past umpteen years then apart from sadly missed Freddie Mercury with his ‘replacement’ Adam Lambert screaming away. Oh for a singer that can sing a note and hold it so you can tell which note it is. No wonder even Elvis Presley’s autopsy was more entertaining than the often ineligible mutterings of many of the modern ‘Top of the Pops’ singer. What did the Christmas Day ‘Top of the Pops’ have to do with Christmas I pondered? Obviously there is a dearth of suitable presenters of the Christmas ‘Feel Good’ presentation…..no wonder Channel 5 dug up every Michael Bublé Christmas Concert they could find.

Excuse my apparent irrelevant lead in to this ‘Review’. Yes….a bit rusty having neglected last year’s review…so two years in one this time.

Ayaka Tanimoto Xmas Concert Dec 9th 2014

 ‘Irrelevant?’…well not quite. We ended the year with a wonderful Christmas Concert at Bristol   Cathedral by mezzo-soprano Ayaka Tanimoto and pianist Kumi Matsuo. For the first time anywhere we have organise one I actually felt it was a Christmas Concert, not just a concert organised at Christmas. Thank you Ayaka and Kumi. More from Ayaka and Kumi in the future. And with the wonders of YouTube (we have our own site) and the help of our IT expert support, Steve Rice, I put together 20 videos for an ‘Alternative Top of The Pops’ which seemed less alternative than the real Top of The Pops. Someone wanting to be radical I guess. I even threw in The Wurzels singing ‘Sleigh Ride’. Does their drummer actually say at the end “I told you it was dross?”

During the year we added a video presentation and text explaining the origination of our title and also of Wessex. I had to contend with a number of misguided (London based) comments over the years, thus airing the ignorance alfred_jewel_aestelof those claiming expert knowledge of Wessex history, (they had been reading too many Thomas Hardy novels) that our presentation means I can now save my breath! “Home Page, centre panel …..near its base”. So, folks, don’t ask me in future. I have a ‘song and dance’ routine lined up to illustrate the point if you dare!!!                                                                                                                                                                                              LEGAL STATUS                                                                               And, by the way, our legal status just under our logo on the left hand panel…we are an ‘Unincorporated Association’. And don’t say with raised eyebrows “Not a charity”. A charity is something you do out of love and respect and for nothing for that which you believe in…not to save tax on that you are not really that bothered about.

Well…we are in our 19th year now so plenty of memories for me personally…and I hope for others that ‘passed this way’. And what next? Our 20th Year of course. So an eye on that already….not least for our new found relationship with the Mencap Charity for learning difficulties (see Home Page feature right hand panel)

Now and then someone springs to mind that I should have stayed in touch with or even, with the search wonders of the internet, a ‘what did my one time friends do over the past 50 years’. It is not difficult to trace them now. I find most have not moved on…they are pretty much the same as they once were……only older. 20 years on I found an ‘old flame’ had not changed a bit. Bound Over to ‘Keep the Peace., fined £1,000 or so, reminded me why I did not hang around there. I felt like Scrooge visiting ‘Ghosts of Christmas Past’.

Ghosts Xmas Past EA_1971_226-a-L

But I am supposed to be visiting the last two years. And quite a few ‘Ghosts’ laid to rest there. I note my last review ended thus:-

“But October 31st on the AJSWs 16th Anniversary we embarked on a series of concerts at St Sepulchre, the Musicians Church, Holborn Viaduct and look forward to our concert programme there in 2013. Everything looks promising so far. It is also the largest parish church in London”.

Everything did look promising then up popped a new vicar of the ‘Alpha Course’ kind (plenty on the internet on that!) and the inevitable happened. We ceased to continue there by the end of July 2014….just as the National Federation of Churches published an article praising me for our lunch concerts there and a week after an evening concert by our chamber music ensemble. Apparently the vicar felt he had to protect his staff from me. I was just about to say the same about him!!! What was that the Pope said about ‘Spiritual Amnesia’ amongst his Vatican Administration? Not just within the Vatican signor! Anyway…..I said all I need to say in a review of our time there on the right hand panel of our ‘Events Page’. It proved a blessing in disguise (Well disguised!) enabling me to spend more time on promoting concerts by musicians specially selected for them.

In the last two years we have built up our own groups with wonderful pioneer concerts by ‘4Tune’ (4 hands on 2 piano), ‘Inzpir8tion’(8 hands on 2 pianos), and our AJSW Chamber Music Ensemble. Teething problems here and there and stress in abundance involved…but some very special concerts behind and ahead of us. All displayed (or linked to) on our Home Page. And there is a marked improvement in our web site as Steve Rice and I work out the possibilities. Much praise to Steve for sticking with it

  img_7374 Steve 2 Thank you Steve. Steve is an IT expert already into action helping us with our web site. His own interesting site can be found on:-                                                          http://www.stevedrice.net/

In fact why not make this period’s ‘High Spot’ to be for those that gave us a past and a future. There are so many any selection at random would be bound to neglect someone…..but let us try. Jackie Wright’s steadfast support almost from the start (1996). Steve Rice for his patience and understanding and, contrary to what he expected, never a cross word between us (if there was…tell me which word it was Steve and I will apologise for it!). Yukiko Shinohara…plenty of cross words between us but, bless her, she copes and I do my best to ‘do my best’. She has helped bring on the various piano presentations and herself gained plaudits for her role with us…and her first solo concert at St George’s next May 7th (2015) in an original presentation titled ‘Jazz In the Classics’ designed by me to illustrate how classical music composers have used jazz phrasing into their arrangements.

Yukiko PR solo 10072

Yukiko Shinohara

To Kazue Yanagida originating the directing of the AJSW CME for two concerts but now, sadly, returned to Japan…but still part of the AJSW. Ayako Yamazaki has taken over as leader now and much praise to her…and not forgetting violinist Elizabeth McGrath will have played on all 5 concerts so far when the CME play’s again on February 19th at St George’s, Bristol. Our international credentials with musicians from Japan, Korea, Belarus, China, Spain , UK and Lithuania. And thank you to the long held support of Mark Lee (Bristol Cathedral’s MD) and Catherine Freda (concerts organiser at St George’s, Bristol.). For the grateful advice of our Legal Advisor: Lester Kan…another patient man. It has been invaluable in the past two years also that of our Patron Kyoko Gledhill’s generous support. Trying to overcome problems with her health yet giving us time means so much more than…..(I am trying to be careful with my words here)…oh to hell with it: Sebastian Coe running around smug and amok! And to everyone who took part those little moments we shared are all remembered and appreciated and in no way forgotten.

2013 / 2014 Musicians Concert Credits                                                                                                                                      (concert details in our archive: Events Page)
(credits as a soloist…as a member of a group separate)

Pianists: (number of concerts in brackets if more than one)
Yukiko Shinohara (5) An-Ting Chang (5) Yuki Negishi (3) Ryoko Izitsu (3) Manda Dorj (3) Jelena Makarova (2)   Nadav Hertzka (2)    Waka Hasegawa (2)  Asa Mori (2)  Sergei Podabedov (2) Emiko Miura (2)  Asa Mori (2) Makiko Sada (2) Steve Warzycki (2) Sooyin Kim (2)  Nao Maebayashi (3) Hiroko Yamamoto (2)  Mayumi IIda (2) Hiromi Okada    Steve Holtz   Nico De Villiers   Carson Becke   Albert Lau  Javier Vazquez Grela    Sunny Li   Grace Yeo   Manny Vass  Kentaro Nagai   Wai-Yin Lee   Sian Maddock    Daniel Roberts   Elspeth Wyllie  Li-Chi Chiang   Asaoka Ogawa   Raymond Lewis   Guray Basol   Nicola Meecham    Gisela Meyer  Mutian Xu   Ada Kan   Michiko Shimanuki    Emeline Archambault    Dha Young Yoon  Sabrina Curpanen Kumi Matsuo   Arabella Pare  Phillip Howard   Saki Matsumoto   Stephen Raine   Sara Costa  Ingrid Cusido   Harry Penfold  So Yeong Kim   Ikuko Inoguchi  Simon Callaghan  Richard Gillies  Masachi Nishiyama  Sa Lang  Ayda Aitkan-Aslantepe   Stephen Gutman  John Bradley  Pippa Harrison  Chad Vindin  Eamonn Ramsey

piano.jpg composite 3

Violinists:-
Mee Hyun Oh (6)  Margaret Dziekonski (3)  Ayako Yamazaki (4)  Yuka Matsumoto (3) Tim Chen (2) Jung Yoon Cho (4) Hannah Woolmer   Haru Ushigusa (2)  Sayaka Nakajima  Julia Hart (3)   Rachel Grimes   Maria Oguren  Jacob Reina Caro  Edward McCullagh (3) Elizabeth McGrath (3) Midori Komachi (2) Kazue Yanagida Lifei Huang Kae Tanimura  Tomer Marcus  Romana Szczepaniak  Minsi Yang  Carl Bradford  Sophie Mather  Gemma Sharples  Christian Dahl  Molly Cockburn  Minn Majoe  Elaine Ambridge  Javier Garcia Aranda

kae-tanimura

 Kae Tanimura (violin) who came over from Japan especially to play at St Sepulchre and only aged 14.

Violas:- Ekaterina Lazareva (5)  Alison D’Souza (3) Xin Xin Liu (2) Andy Gibbs Diana Mathews  Natalie Cavey  Martin Wray   Sue Yeon Lee  Lidia Palomo  Chris Beckett  Benjamin Harrison  Eva Nikolova

Cellos:– Aiki Mori (2)  Shinko Hanaoka (2)  Marta Tobar (4) Lydia Kwon (2)  Marta Dourado  James Greenfield  Lydia Kwon  Wei Tsen-Lin  Catherine Lee  George Hoult  Verity Evanson  Hannah Masson-Smyth  Alisa Linbarsky  Tom Oldfield  Harriet Walker  Gemma Kost

Flute:-Yukari Yamamura  Mizuki Shindo  Kathy Bachelor  Melanie Young

Saxophone: Stephanie Legg (3)   Horn: David Horwich

yukari-yamamura

Yukari Yamamura (flute)

Another musician who flew from Japan for a lunch concert then with our July 18th AJSW CME concert.

Thank you Yukari…..I wish it could be for every concert with us.

Guitar:- Stelios Kyriakides   Panama Dave   Organ: Tak Man Chow

Popular Song Style:- Sira Garcias

Sopranos / Mezzo-sopranos :- Ayaka Tanimoto  Rosie Middleton  Wiktoria Szyrocka  Marie Vassiliou  Alice Bishop  Susana Gilardoni  Deborah Aloba

Baritone:- Juwon Ogungbe (4)  Crispin Lewis  David Hughes

Duos:–  The Azure Duo – (4hands on 1 piano) Nao Maebayashi / Eamonn Ramsay

Trios:-

Albany PianoTrio:-
Gemma Sharples (violin) Verity Evanson (Cello) Pippa Harrison (piano)

Trio Sol:- Christian Dahl (violin) David Horwich (horn)  Chad Vindin (piano)

Duport Trio:- Midori Komachi (violin)  Diana Mathews (viola) Catherine Lee (Cello)

Perkelt (Folk / medieval):- (2)  – not in instrument by instrument listings above.
Stepan Honc (guitar / vocals)  Pavina Baslova (violin / vocals)   William Connor (percussion)

Quartet’s:-

3 quartets composite

The Matteo String Quartet:-
Molly Cockburn (violin)  Elaine Ambridge (violin)  Alison D’Souza (viola)  George Hoult (cello)

Dulcinea Quartet:- 1st violin:- Minn Majoe   2nd violin:- Haru Ushigusa  viola:- Martin Wray  cello:- Hannah Masson-Smyth.

Mizuki Quartet:- Julia Hart (violin)  Carl Bradford (violin) Sue Yeon Lee (viola)  Tom Oldfield (cello)

Phillidor Quartet:- 1st violin: Javier Garcia Aranda, 2nd violin: Jung Yoon Cho  Viola: Lidia Palomo, Cello: Harriet Walker.

Ryedale Quartet:- Edward McCullagh (violin) Sophie Mather (violin)  Chris Beckett (viola) Gemma Kost (cello)

The Waska String Quartet:-

Romana Szczepeniak (violin), Kathrine Hals (violin), Ralitsa Naydenova (viola), and Idlir Shyti (cello).

Quintet:- The Wolfe Ensemble.
Edward McCullagh (violin)   Minsi Yang (violin)  Benjamin Harrison (viola)  Alison D’ Souza (viola)  Alisa Linbarsky (cello)

AJSW CHAMBER MUSIC ENSEMBLE:-

At St. George’s, Bristol Feb 19th 2015 – see Home Page for details.

AJSW 2 Screenshot 2015-02-10 02.21.54

PREVIOUS CONCERT:-

November 7th (2013) ‘4Tune’(4hands on 2 pianos):-

Yuki Negishi and Yukiko Shinohara

May 31st St James 2013:-‘Inzpir8tion’ (8hands on 2 pianos)
Yukiko Shinohara, Hiroko Yamamoto, Mayumi Iida, Nao Maebayashi

AJSW Chamber Music Ensemble: May 31st St James (2013):-

Director:- Kazue Yanagida (violin)
Violins:- Elizabeth McGrath, Yuka Matsumoto, Jung Yoon Cho.
Violas:- Xin Xin Liu,  Natalie Cavey  Cellos:-  Wei-Tsen Lin, Marta Tobar
Flute:-  Mizuki Shindo.

February 20th St George’s Bristol 2014:-

Director: Jung Yoon Cho (violin)
Violins:- Ayako Yamazaki, Midori Komachi, Elizabeth McGrath, Mee Hyun Oh.
Violas:- Katya Lazareva, Xin Xin Liu   Cellos:- Marta Tobar, Lydia Kwon.

July 18th  St Sepulchre (2014):-

Leader: Ayako Yamazaki (violin)
Violins:- Elizabeth McGrath, Julia Hart, Mee Hyun Oh, Lifei Huang.
Violas:- Katya Lazareva,  Eve Nikolava
Cellos:- Marta Tobar, Lydia Kwon.
Flute:- Yukari Yamamura

rosenblattAn ongoing thank you and respect for our Russian Honorary Patron: Alexander Rosenblatt for his generous support to the society through his music and personal encouragement. Here is his beautiful ‘Waltz Elegy’:-

___________________________________________________________

Our ‘Wooden Spoon’ Award? Two years ago I gave no names. I am not so sure I can this time. Some Honorary Patrons have departed…Shakti also as President (no longer visiting this country as she once did but we are still in touch and possibly more on her in the future). Whilst other Honorary Patrons ‘get involved’ some seemed to have the wrong idea. The society was not set up to promote them as such…they are there because of their relative success. We try to help others to develop their talents and develop the public awareness of them and the AJSW. I was truly shocked of that which came to light, reported to me and which I myself observed. Mindless gossip inevitably influences vulnerable young people especially from foreign countries fearing their return to the land of their birth if they do not do their ‘master’s bidding’. It pollutes the environment we all work in. And I had to cope with young ladies openly expressing and practising racial or ‘national discrimination’….it was a disgrace. I excuse no-one for doing anything bad….but I do not lay it on their relatives and ancestors for atonement. Musicians should be above that. Music certainly is. Music should help ease ‘the pain’ not add to it.  hh

My thoughts are also for those musicians where sexual abuse has come to light in the past two years at so many respected music colleges and an appalling case of financial impropriety (at the RAM). What on earth do they think they are doing. What did those who knew it was going on think they were condoning by their inaction to stop it. Not just men involved but women as well. Let us hope the Police and the authorities continue to delve and delve and bring people to book. It helps none of us if such people are allowed to pollute the environment we try to bring pleasure to. ‘Man’s imperfections’ are one thing that can be compassionately understood….but his striving to indulge them another.

politieagent_moving

Politics:- Some have observed past comments I have made in previous reviews as not relevant but come to see my point in the light of ‘historical’ events. If influential people are allowed to get away with serious crimes of fraud, corruption, embezzlement, misappropriation of funds, wholesale tax evasion, misleading the electorate, invading privacy, slaughter of innocents in wars designed for economic profit covered up as ‘moral necessity’, then it impacts on the way all of us lead our lives and the openings available to be rewarded and fulfilled for our genuine talents and those with an honesty of purpose. We still await the long overdue conclusion of the Iraq Inquiry, the appalling ‘paedophile allegations’ inquiry (not even started due to the apparent lack of anyone clean enough to chair it), banks causing the ruination of many nations allowed to continue and even those individuals responsible for it leading lucrative, well rewarded lives without any loss of liberty…contrast it with some Tottenham rioters sent to jail for petty stealing of a few objects…the long list across many nations of conduct akin to the worst deeds of the Mafia, Yakuzi and Triads rolled into one than decisions of ‘caring souls’ defending the ‘Rights of Man’ in the name of Democracy. And even The Pope weighed in as 2014 came to a close. He noted many around him had ‘Spiritual Amnesia’ and indulged in ‘Gossip’ in a way that was not conducive to their responsible positions.   emoticon-holding-his-nose-bad-smell-29853442

Sadly the Japanese Government has also fallen for the notion that you can print useless money, use it for purchases and then live off the profits it brings. No you cannot. In 2015 / 16 we shall see just how much that cannot be done big time.

The Japanese in general? It should be of serious concern that the Japanese indigenous population is falling alarmingly (a quarter of a million in 2013) and their population is ageing. The highest incidence of suicide amongst the leading ‘civilized’ nations, serious mental health problems for far too many, and an electorate voting in the recent General Election of less than 50%. I think right now they need our friendship and support…not for their politicians to make weapons and to posture and argue about past war crimes. They did them; they must look in the mirror once and for all and accept their own guilt for their own good and the good of their youth through their education system. No-one is guiltless in War time…..but some more guilty than others. And before and during World War II Japan’s conduct was appalling especially to the Asian and Pacific Nations. The Japanese establishment will reap a terrible reward for continuing self-denial or the attempts to ‘review’ past apologies, not least amongst their own people.

2 Japanese trio shock

I was invited to Chatham House several years ago where the female Japanese lecturer (stationed at the London School of Economics) illustrated the media coverage and attitudes relating to Japan’s World War II conduct and its ebbs and flows during the period of the conflict’s end to the present day. “Any Questions” I vaguely heard after she had finished. I was doing my usual Rip Van Winkle impersonation (I find it hard to stay awake in some like environments) but those sat around the long oblong table were so ‘silent and shy’ I thought I should try to contribute. I thought hard what would be the most effective question and decided on:- “Was the apology for Japan’s World War II conduct supported and promoted by substantial elements of the population of Japan or was it merely convenient to the Government at that time?” The lecturer replied it was a good question but declined to answer it at that time. But behind me on the outer ring of chairs inhabited by only one elderly Japanese gentleman, he had risen from his seat and stood bolt upright as a ‘soldier to attention’ and, staring ahead of him said “We have apologised”. I have no idea who he was…I should have asked but I was not expecting such a reaction.  He clearly felt not just a responsibility but an obligation to underline that apology as if he was speaking for all of Japan. So…here is my point. I respected that man for doing that. It must have taken some courage. He didn’t have to respond to me…..who else would have known or cared what I thought or said bar those few people there? But I can do a little better for him with this little reminder to the present incumbents of the Diet and Japanese establishment paying such scant regard to what they had previously claimed was sincere “You have apologised”.

Apologised

Japanese women have now been asked to go out to work and have more children. There is some muddled thinking going on in Japan. Still…I guess that’s one way to ensure a nail that sticks up is knocked back down again!  No wonder the birth rate is falling The Japanese people deserve better which is something, at least, the UK can share with them.

2 Far East Cat

However….there is much optimism for the AJSW so forward to 2015! Thank you to all who have supported and spent time with us.

Godfrey King December 31st 2014.

Sadly Mike Forrest passed away in August. The first I knew was when I telephoned expecting to speak to him but Gail’s (his wife) sister answered to explain the sad news. It is difficult to know what to say about such a fine man and his distinguished career as Naval Attaché in Japan and in later years as a much sought after translator. Gail and Mike were also ‘in at the start’ with the AJSW 19 years agso. Thank you Mike and to Gail my sympathy at a time of such sorrow.

Perhaps an ‘encore’! War is not to be glorified…there is nothing glorious about it. ‘Man’s deeds’ during it maybe but even those that lived through it might dispute that. Henry Allingham did (1896 – 2009).

393947-275 Allingham

He lived to be 113 having served in World War One. (‘The Great War’..if any war can be called such).The oldest British man ever recorded.  He came home and like so many soldiers, did not want to speak about it. In later life questions were asked and gradually his fame grew and he explained the horrors and futility of it all. Considering those leading various countries (including our own) most of which have never been in a uniform (bar a city gents suit) let alone see the horrors of war, are so ready to send others into such horrors, Henry must have felt his message was lost despite all he suffered.

War means loved ones never returning or returning not what they once were and some living a life of forlorn hope as they take to a life of homelessness.

For a few months I was organising concerts in The Actors Church (St Paul’s, Covent Garden) where, adorning the walls’ were great names of the acting and music profession on memorial plaques many of which had their memorial services there. At the back, almost hidden away, a small one for ‘Ivor Novello’. It was in contrast to the glittering annual music awards in his name attended by to-day’s representatives of the music profession. I have been horrified at the low quality and inane lyrics of the modern awards. Talented she may have been but Amy Winehouse’s ‘Rehab’ song aint no classic bless her well intentioned soul. One example of many.

4 Ivor Novello

Let me turn to Ivor Novello himself to illustrate what is a ‘classic song’. It was written near the end of WWII in 1945. And Ivor was near the end of his life also…3 more years and he was gone. He wrote a song that encapsulated all the loss that war brings and the hope it also brings that those loved ones will return again to see ‘The Lilacs in the Spring once more’ walking hand in hand with their loved ones. And I know Amy’s Dad Mitch admires Frank Sinatra and styles his singing on him. So Amy, Mitch and those using Ivor to promote their ‘Music Awards’…this is a classic song sung by a classic singer:-

WE’LL GATHER LILACS by Ivor Novello (full verse)

Although you’re far away, and life is sad and grey
I have a scheme; a dream to try

I’m thinking dear, of you and all I mean to do
When we’re together, you and I

We’ll soon forget our care and prayer
And find such lovely things to share again

We’ll gather lilacs in the spring again
And walk together down an English lane
Until our hearts have learned to sing again
When you come home once more

And in the evening by the firelight’s glow
You’ll hold me close and never let me go
Your eyes will tell me all I want to know

When you come home once more

War veteran celebrates 111th birthday175px-Henry_Allingham_in_1916Henry-Allingham-whose-fun-003

Another Ivor Novello song that sustained people in wartime:-

KEEP THE HOME FIRES BURNING

sung here by a girl that came through many tough times herself:-

CERYS MATTHEWS

THAT’S IT………THANK YOU FOR THOSE WHO CARED……..TO 2015       Godfrey King  AJSW

May 31st Promo Concert at St James, Piccadilly

April 21st, 2013

15th Anni focussed

See our Home Page for details of this exciting concert. Brilliant musicians playing a classical programme with a few light touches.

‘INZPIR8TION’ four Japanese pianists, two grand pianos plus AJSW CHAMBER MUSIC ENSEMBLE directed by Kazue Yanagida

 

 

 

 

 

                                             Photo: Nov 10th St George’s Int. Concert Venue 2011 

 

                                                 ‘Legal Advisors to AJSW’       

            J400 & LD Logos

            www.japan400.com              www.lesterdominic.com

 

                                                               

2012 AJSW Review

March 24th, 2013

AJSW logo

A YEAR OF TRANSITION!

I nearly wrote ‘attrition!’ as a header. It was certainly a year where hard decisions posed themselves which (a nature of the ‘beast’) is welcomed and derided sometimes in equal measure according to who wins or loses. (“Who Dares Wins!”)

After a successful ’15th Year’ some ‘baggage’ had accrued over that time and to move forward that had to be recognised, targeted and attempts made to underline our purpose and to establish our commitment.

The year started with a tragedy for St Dunstan vicar Rev William Gulliford and his family with the sad death of their son Theodore on New Year’s Eve. Yet our first event of the year there was a celebration by a Japanese family as sisters Haru and Hana Ushigusa took the opportunity to present a concert with parents and friends in the audience. Whereas my inclination and responsibility was to promote joy and hope for the future one had to against a backdrop of a natural need to grieve and reflect on the past and what might have been.

Soon came the news that Father William was leaving for another church. The relationship between him and me had been a ‘day to day’ personal one in relating to the concert programme for three and a half years. I turned up there one day almost four years previously and was taken in to organise the church concert programme which, up to then, was left barren for so many years as was the piano; two years un-tuned with its pedal casing laying forlorn adrift from the piano. It was patched up to be serviceable but always with a limited life hanging over it considering it was made for home use and not the concert platform…and it shook whenever it was played. Neverthelss with Father Williams support I had taken the lunch concert programme from nil to one of the most successful and vibrant in London churches and that had spin-offs for the rest of the church. It developed and progressed against the odds on a ad-hoc basis. Along the journey there were those that helped and those that hindered. That’s life!

In just the year 2011 I had organised 80 concerts including at other venues. And I had just delivered virtually single handed an August Festival of some 18 concerts and record income, opening the church, accruing and banking the donations, organising the musicians, the advertising, posters, leaflets. In the wake of that I found out later the church council had a meeting to determine 2012 Olympic Events and targeted August for various ideas decided by a committee that had been formed (but never met) which would nullify all I had spent the past years building up……and no-one thought to ask my opinion!

Despite well documented requests to stay on (in the light of Father William’s tragic loss and his leaving) I decided life would be a little easier to move on and leave St Dunstan and its shaking piano behind. I could not square the fact the church had spent a quarter of a million on an organ restoration and another quarter of a million on bells for the Queens Jubilee, that the bank opposite had put a million pounds into a fund through which their contribution for the organ (in memory of a former family member of the bank) was routed and that the organ would not stay in tune (leading to complaints by an organisation invited to use it and pulling their last two concerts of a series) and that I had to contend with a piano that was helping make the church money yet even had to barter over its tuning regime…and that it shook when played and bought for the church by the person the organ was supposed to be restored in memory of. And trying to persuade me to stay was a member of that banking family. Ultimately my thoughts were for the musicians…that if I could use my energy for something better for them (and it was not certain I would) then I should free myself from the trials and tribulations at St Dunstan and take my experience with me and see what was around the corner.

But I will always be grateful for the time I spent at St Dunstan, to those who supported me during my time there and, indeed, at least left them with something they did not have when I introduced myself 4 years previously…a concert programme to make of it what they could.

We also decided to cease our concert programme at St James, Piccadilly. We had been organising some 7 concerts there for a number of years. The main attraction for musicians was the Fazioli piano. But 2012 was beset by problems relating to musicians readiness to abide by the regulations and the consistency by which they were applied. Some were admirable, others less so and created was some confusion with St James organisers. So we have withdrawn from regular concerts there for the time being.

Bristol Cathedral too had some early problems with a concert cancelled due to that day being used by the local bailiffs to clear squatters from the green outside the cathedral protesting about the business fratermity (a lá St Pauls’ in London) And there were two concerts I could not attend. But they continue to appeal to musicians and Bristol Cathedral audiences where the admirable Director of Music Mark Lee continues his support as he has done for the last 10 years.

We went to the Actor’s Church (St Paul’s, Covent Garden) for some dates in August to October…although a good venue its administration was not all it could be and double booking concerts and requiring us to cancel or re-align them was unfair to the musicians and my expressions of concern led to us withdrawing from there especially as it was the only church venue in London that required a charge of £15 each for lunch concert. The musicians were free, I was free, we put their donations and audience levels up on a regular basis in a short time. ‘Hobson’s Choice’ fellas!

We also had three concerts this year at professional international concert venue St George’s in Bristol with Harpsichordist Masumi Yamamoto, the Toki Quartet and our own ‘8 hands on 2 pianos’ group ‘Inzpir8tion (more on that later).

But October 31st on the AJSWs 16th Anniversary we embarked on a series of concerts at St Sepulchre, the Musicians Church, Holborn Viaduct and look forward to our concert programme there in 2013. Everything looks promising so far. It is also the largest parish church in London.

Hight Spot / Wooden Spoon

For several years now I have been highlighting a ‘high spot’ despite some thought of it being a little unfair to all those musicians that had worked so hard to perform to the best of their ability. And in noting such ‘High Spots’ it was not about even musical ability but that something that went into the realms of the extra-ordinary. There are always so many memories and those that cause musicians to return to their home country when they would prefer to stay with so many friends in London where so many of their teenage to young adult years have been spent., especially sad.

The ever cheerful pianist Kayoko Sugimura and the talents of pianist Kumi Matsuo were just two of those caught up in the problems of renewing their visas. And Akiko Murakami also returned to Japan get married. Others come back and forth. Emiko Miura and Makiko Sada such admirable pianists and also collaborators with other musicians, that delight audiences and introduced to our concert programme this year Kanako Wakatsuki who displayed the utmost professionalism in never letting anything ruffle her….a late hour concert at St James, playing in the bitter cold of St Dunstan, changed dates at the Actors Church then not playing there at all and instead finally playing at St Sepulchre. The wonderful concert at St James by Mongolian ‘Manda’ Dorj wildly applauded and the enthusiasm of Taiwanese An-Ting Chang with so many others all contributing to special memories and even, for the first time in my life, turning pages for a pianist, Nico de Villers as he accompanied violinist Sebastian Meuller at St James, Piccadilly.

The violinists started the year with sisters Haru and Hana Ushigusa with Haru taking part in 4 concerts……the ever growing stature of Midori Komachi whose Toki Quartet also played at St George’s in 2012. The impish and talented, pair each doing solo concerts now who played a duo to-gether the first time we saw them in 2011, South Korean born Me Hyun Oh and Malayan Tsze Yenn Yong. And from South Korea the determination of Jung Yoon Cho to improve and make a name for herself who played so well especially at Bristol Cathedral. And a special thank you to Megumi Nagae who got married in August and played three concerts for us at St James, the Musicians Church and Bristol Cathedral.

Of the less regular instruments flautist Mizuki Shindo played a technically demanding programme at the Actors Church and she is surely one to watch. Harpsichordist Masumi Yamamoto at St George’s kept the AJSW flag flying high. Tak Man Chow played our first organ concert for a number of years at St Dunstan as we showed how such a concert could attract an audience. It was sad that Tak was caught up in the controversy surrounding the organ. Bass singer Juwon Ogungbe’s concert at St Dunstan was also my last there….but not the last with Juwon. We will see him in 2013.

Of the various ensembles our first ever date at a Stratford-on-Avon venues saw the Galitzin Quartet doing us proud. And the Toki Quartet at St George’s continuing our professional path that we need so much to expand. The visit from the USA of the Sundance Trio continued our welcome of visiting American groups. And the quartet formed especially to mark the parting of the ways as several members of the Zing Quartet said goodbye or Sayonara to each other, and the two opera based groups Opera at Home and the assorted vocalists and musicians put to-gether by Ana Luisa Monteiro broadened the variety of concerts we organised. An English professional group doing so well for itself led by pianist Pippa Harrison brought us The Albany Trio for the first time which we will be seeing again in 2013.

  HIGH SPOT

‘Inzpir8tion’

'Inzpir8tion'

‘Inzpir8tion’

8 hands on 2 pianos is rare….and often treated as no more than an eccentric aside to ‘normal’ soloists and duo pianists. On November 29th 2012 at St George’s International Concert Venue, Bristol there was no question of anyone doing anything as an ‘aside’. In this AJSW group the four UK based Japanese born pianists played remarkably for one hour in a display of ‘8 hands arrangements’ and some duo pieces arranged by AJSW Hon Patron Russian composer Alexander Rosenblatt. Yukiko Shinohara, Hiroko Yamamoto, Mayumi IIda and Nao Maebayashi were as entertaining as they were individually technically adept in utilising those talents for a staggering group effort that enthralled the audience. It had been months of worry and rehearsals and, as is so essential, getting to know each other. No wonder the venue events organiser, Catherine Freda, was moved to write directly after the concert:

.“Brilliant concert, I feel on a real high now! Four lovely girls too, and the audience certainly enjoyed their presentation as well as their playing! I really do hope they manage to perform in this format a good few more times, if there are any other venues you need me to report to on their performance, just say the word, there’d be a glowing report from me.”

For me personally it was the most satisfying event I have been involved with in the 16 years the AJSW has been in existence.

Sometime in 2013 will be the groups London debut.

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Michael Woodford

was the gentleman who found himself chosen to be the first ‘Gaijin’ to run a Japanese company in Japan and found within a few days there was endemic corrupt practices which he became the ‘whistle blower’ for. His struggles to expose this and his obvious love of the Japanese (some of them!) is told interestingly and dramatically in his recently published book ‘Exposure’. The company is Olympus.

I share his concerns for Japan. The people deserve better. In his book he refers to Japan “sleepwalking” to a disaster and “Alice in Wonderland rules” in matters of Japanese business and how all seems to be forgotten with a bow, an apology and continuing as before. Much about Japan and the way it is run worries me also….it impacts on the world but mostly, of course, on those born there. Their courtesy and ancient art and customs is quite wonderful but they can not live on that alone. No country can exist preserved as if a museum and take part in the global market or as a global power on that basis. And Mr Woodford’s book brings that home

Many Japanese people know this and identify with it. As a friend of them it is our duty to stand by them and support them…and Mr Woodford has risked his life doing so.

The hardback version of his book is published by ‘Portfolio Penguin’. 

Wooden Spoon:-

There were so many difficult issues to contend with this last  year. In previous years I have chosen to comment on the political scene which impacted so much on how I organised the society and the support I received. If anything, matters were far worse than in 2011 with the investigation into journalists hacking enquiries, police corruption, yet another war, the worsening economic situation and spreading to so many countries, the continuing shock of leading banks conduct and handling of their customers money, turmoil within the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches and in the aftermath of Sir Jimmy Saville’s death (a classic case of a little boy proclaiming and pointing out the metaphorical “The King is in his Alltogether”), the accusation against so many leading artists of the entertainment world being subjected to public humiliation for some past as yet unproven indiscretions in their alleged sexual mis-conduct. For someone of my age it is as if Hell has burst open to reveal its worst deeds. And as I write the shambles over the cut off point for paying child benefit and the Government spokesman claiming it would be too complex to make it fairer (or to translate that…..’We are not intending to be fair, we intend to save money’) sums up the debased attitude of so many themselves well off and the recipients not just of concessions paid by the taxpayer but ALL their income paid by the taxpayer. Those include the Police, Politicians and Bankers.

However….three e-mailed comments to me this year spring to mind. The first from a ‘negotiator’ trying to persuade me to continue at St Dunstan after I had chosen to resign. I had commented that a female musician had just played in freezing conditions after over an hour rehearsing (with few people around) and her solitude to rest pre-concert disturbed by a church ’elder’ eating his lunch and on a day when some workmen gave not a thought to the days concert and placed an obstruction in the way of entry to the church when not just myself but the brilliant pianist was giving her time for nothing and the church receiving an income as a result. “That’s it” I thought to myself especially after I expressed my concerns to the person trying to negotiate my stay there and he replied:-

You do need to appreciate that ***** and others are volunteers who have busy professional lives. Ideally they would speak to the performer, but there are a lot of people in and out of the Church and they may simply not have realised who she was“.

That is someone sat rehearsing at the piano for an hour with few (in fact) in and out. It was a sobering attitude to ponder.

The second another concert organiser at another venue trying to impress on me her priorities which she described as:-

“I have to run this department with a damage limitation policy – my first duty is to my audience, with recitalist’s and staff close behind.”

My reply to that was ‘No musicians, no audiences’.

And the third an official (I will not say where except he is Japanese) who has a responsibility for ‘art and entertainment etc’ events by Japanese or for the Japanese cultural appreciation, understanding and friendship, and had been in his position for two years and, when his boss suggested I should contact him, he wrote in reply to my invitation to me saying he knew all about what we did and that:-

I shall contact you when I feel it is necessary.”

He might well feel it ‘necessary’ sooner than he thought!

So the wooden spoon to all three who could have done so much to help us but, perhaps unwittingly (being generous!)  will remain anonymous as so many people are who are paid to look after the well-being of others but are too full of their own self-importance and interest to do their duty to others who give so much of their time for free. I thought PM Cameron wanted to laud those giving their time for the ‘Big Society’, not be treated with contempt. So many think the worth of someone is measured by what they are paid. As a man with lots of experience in his 69 years….I can assure you that is the last element to be considered in the assessment of someone’s worth.

Thank you to everyone that helped in 2012.

Godfrey King  

______________________________________________

Musicians That Played AJSW Organised Concerts in 2012

How many times played (more than once) by numbers bracketed (random order)

Those in ensembles not included in soloists listings

PIANISTS

Kayoko Sugimura (4), Kantaoro Nagano, Akiko Murakami (3), Orania Gassious, Larysch Khmurych, Sam Lui, Dha Young Yoon, Evgeny Genchev, Nao Maebayashi, Eamonn Ramsey (Azure Duo), Kanako Wakatsuki (3), Manueal Lopez Jorge, Kumi Matsuo (4), Thomas Kell, Mandakhtuya Dorj (2), Makiko Sada, Chio Tsunakawa (2), Nico de Villiers, Aisa Ijiri, Emiko Miura, Belinda Jones (2), Nadav Hertzka, Masayuki Tayama, Yukiko Shinohara, An-Ting Chang, Soo Jin Kim (2), Di Wu,

So Yeong Kim, Chisato Kusunoki, Sanaz Satoudeh (2), Maya Soltan, Pablo Garcia-Berlanga, Riyad Nicolas, Roksana Wawryniecka, Maria Levandovskaya, Gregorz Mania.

VIOLINISTS / VIOLA

Haru Ushigusa (3), Hana Ushigusa, Tsze Yenn Yong (2), Sayaka Kurata, Hannah Woolmer, Mansoon Bow, Rachel Weisser, Valtie Nunn, Horia Varascu, Sebastian Meuller, Jung Yoon Cho (2), Megumi Nagae (3), Midori Komachi (3), Christina Ocana Rosando, Mee Hyun Oh (2), Mari Kobayashi, Alexandros Koustas (viola) Yuka Matsumoto, Maria Slawek, Paula Martinez, Maya Enokida.(Baroque violin)

CELLO:- Caroline Borkowska

FLUTE Mizuki Shindo, Samantha Pearce

GUITARISTS :- Taro Takeuchi, Ahmed Dickinson 

                                   HARPSICHORD                ORGAN

                             Masumi Yamamoto        Tak Man Cho 

SOPRANO                               BASS                            

                          Ayako Tanimoto (3)   Juwon Ogungbe

ENSEMBLES

INZPIR8TION (8 Hands on 2 Pianos)

Yukiko Shinohara, Hiroko Yamamoto. Mayumi IIda, Nao Maebayashi

THE ZING QUARTET:-  

Haru Ushigusa (1st violin) : Mari Kobayashi (2nd violin)

Xin Xin Lu (viola) : Juanita Wong (cello)

ALBANY PIANO TRIO Gemma Sharples (violin) Verity Evanson (violin) Pippa Harrison (piano)

THE SUNDANCE TRIO (USA) Geralyn Giovanneti (oboe) : Jed Moss (piano) : Christian Smith (bassoon)

 

TOKI QUARTET:-                                                                                                                

Nasrim Rashidova (1st violin) : Midori Komachi (2nd violin)

Steve Doman (viola) : Amy Jolly (cello)

 

THE GALITZIN QUARTET

Pedro Meiriles (violin) :-  Owen Cox (2nd violin)                                                      Joe Ichinose (viola) : Ken Ichinose (cello)

 

OPERA AT HOME ENSEMBLE:-                                                                                          

John Haworth : Jose Gandia (violin) :

Mizuka Yamamoto (violin) : Gregory Duggan (cello)

Andrea Kmecová (piano)

 

SKAZKA – RUSSIAN FAIRY TALES

Ines Simoes (soprano) :  

Anna Starushkevyeh (mezzo-soprano)               

Lukosz Hajduczenia (baritone) :

Danae Tammal (violin)     :     Ana Luisa Monteiro (piano)

 

Regular Venues (2012):-

St Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleets Street, London – Bristol Cathedral – St James, Piccadilly, London – St. George’s – Bristol. The Actors Church (Covent Garden), St Sepulchre, the Musicians Church (Holborn Viaduct)

                  The following information is of those involved in 2012

Patron:- Kyoko Gledhill                                                                                        

President: Shakti                                                                                                                        

Hon Patrons: Prof. Tomotada Soh (Hon RAM), George Logan (Dr Evadne Hinge), Alexander Rosenblatt, Gordon Fergus-Thompson (FRCM), Kotono Sato                                                                                                                                                   

Advisors  :- Shakti, Keith Haines, Jackie Wright, Prof Tomotada Soh (Hon RAM), Gordon Fergus-Thompson(FRCM) , Phil Ronan, Lester Kan (Lester Dominic – solicitors)

Web Site Organisers:- Phil Ronan, Steve Rice.. And Honorary Web Organiser: Mari Numada (thanks as ever Mari)

Danny Boy – 100 years old January 2013

January 6th, 2013

Somerset poet Fred Weatherly was born in Portishead. His sister sent him a tune from Ireland we know as Londonderry Air. Fred had written words to another tune but found this tune fitted his verse perfectly and thus the unofficial national anthem of Ireland, Danny Boy, was born and written by a Somerset man. Although leading a busy professional life in the legal world as a barrister, he was a prolific poet and this produced two more notable and heart wrenching  famous songs, Roses of Picardy and The Holy City.

There are many versions recorded of Danny Boy from Joesf Locke to Elvis Presley, The Pogues and even The Muppets! But there is something about Deanna Durbin that captures the essence of the song that is really about a mother’s heartfelt wishes spoken to her son.

Deanna Durbin retired from film and showbiz in her mid-twenties. But she is still alive and living in Paris and a few years ago had to ask her fans to stop writing to the web site dedicated to her memory as she could not possibly answer letters any longer due to their volume and her age.

Etam 2012 & Kotono Sato: Hon Patron

December 23rd, 2012

Etam 2012 – L’intégrale

To introduce AJSW Honorary Patron Kotono Sato a show she played in (violinist on the left of the screen) as entertaining as any on our TV screens Christmas 2012. A show both for the ladies and gentlemen and those that appreciate the sirens of the 1980’s disco era. Gloria Gaynor sang ‘I’ll Survive’ back then and here is the proof….and how! French fashion firm ‘Etam’ engaged them for their fashion show earlier this year and Kotono yet one more wonderful memory to add to her remarkable list of musical achievments and hilights. Welcome back Kotono! More information on Kotono on our Links Page or her web page:- www.kotonosato.com