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Anglo-Japanese Society of Wessex

An Unincorporated Association

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

Japan Representative:
Kazue Yanagida

Please see Links for more information on our patrons

Special Advisor:
Jackie Wright

Godfrey King

Web Site:
Steve Rice

Established 1996

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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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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)

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Musician's Chapel Dedication

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

What we do



柳田 和江(名誉パトロン)AJSW日本代表

Click here for biography

AJSW Blog Archive 2008 - 2014 (discontinued)

2010 AJSW Thank You!

(est 1996)

15th Anniversary Year

…..and thank you to those who helped support the society in 2010, members or not, in the continuing economically difficult times where good-will was spread over a broader base where the generally consistent exceptional standard of the musicians, be they Japanese or not, continued to create a balance in the otherwise mundane lives of those that listen.

For yet another year our classical music programme increased with the total number of concerts at 76. In addition to the main venue of St. Dunstan-In-The-West and St James, Piccadilly, London and Bristol Cathedral in support, came the professional concert venue in Bristol of St George’s and two trial concerts at St Margaret Pattens in London and one concert in the charming Methodists Hall (the oldest in the world) in Bristol.

The economic problems caused JAL to withdraw sponsorship as they faced the battle to continue trading and we found no individual sponsors to replace them. We earned a little income but not sufficient to keep expenses costs going to some musicians as had been the practice for the last 5 years.

The August Music Festival at St Dunstan was a huge success and will continue in 2011 with some extra Easter Concert dates.

Despite all the difficulties 2010 will prove a springboard for so many interesting ideas to take into 2011. Yuki Negishi (classical pianist) has joined us as an Hon. Patron and a very active one. She played 4 wonderful concerts for us and is full of ideas for the future. We could do with more representative, funding and hands-on support.

Dame Evelyn Glennie departed after 14 years as an Hon Patron along with some 50 other patronages she gave up. Ah well:- ‘tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis!’.

Above all 2011 is the AJSW 15th Anniversary Year. It did not seem possible when it was born that it would reach such an age and move to and thrive in central London. It just goes to prove…..I don’t know what, but it goes to prove it!

Regular Venues (key contacts) St Dunstan:- Fr. William (& family) and the Church Administrators and to express my gratitude for all the hard and testing work Ingrid Slaughter and Melchor (‘Teas’) did before their departure at the end of August.

Other Venues: Bristol Cathedral (Mark Lee MD), St James, Piccadilly (Sarah Baxter), St. George’s (Catherine Freda), St. Margaret Pattens (Rev Hugh Thomas)

President:- Shakti Hon Patrons: Prof. Tomotada Soh (Hon RAM), George Logan(Dr Evadne Hinge),Yuki Negishi(BMus, MMus,PGDip, ArtDip.).
Advisors:- Keith Haines, Jackie Wright, Prof Tomotada Soh (Hon RAM), Yuki Negishi.

Web Site Organiser:- Phil Ronan. Another steadfast and truly loyal year. Phil has immense patience, calm and technical skill and I almost devoid of either. My emotions are all wrapped up in enthusiasm and intensity enough to wilt the hardiest. Many thanks Phil.

High Spots:- There were a number of special events none of which brought the over-riding ‘killer moment’. The Mercury Glee Club from Tokyo’s visit to Bristol Cathedral and St Dunstan, with their encore of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and ‘God Save The Queen’, was both surreal and moving. Two remarkable concerts at St George’s with Harpsichord Duo: Masumi Yamamoto and Takako Minami; The Galtizin Quartet there drawing some 300 to the lunch concert, The koto group ladies of ‘Yomonokai’ from Japan to St Dunstan and The Weslyan Methodist Chapel in Bristol to mark the first Japanese ‘group’ visit there and the contrasting scene to the visiting preacher they had for the lunchtime service. At every concert in Bristol Cathedral performers produced some remarkable and moving moments. The filming of Kazue Yanagida at St Dunstan by her local Shizuoka TV News service in Japan.

But two concerts stand out one sad and a parting after many years in London training and the other that even brought tears to the eyes to the experienced concert organisers and listeners in the audience. Of the first….

Yukino Kano (classical pianist) played a number of concerts for the society in the last few years…either as a soloist or to accompany others. One concert this year she took at 24 hours notice to help us out. I came to admire Yukino for her determination and musicianship and disposition. She displayed guts. And because of a past initiative during an impromptu ‘work-shop’ with a visiting group of children to Bristol Cathedral where Yukino was rehearsing with other musicians, I asked her to go up to a school in Yorkshire for a non-musical cultural presentation along with dancer Ayu Sonoda. She had already declared she had decided to return to Japan. She played a parting concert for us on June 30th where we presented her with a locket and St Dunstan’s administration a framed print. Her last piece was an arrangement by Liszt titled ‘Dedication’ of Robert Schumann’s declaration of love for his beloved Clara:- ‘Widmung’. The naked emotion of this piece and the power and feeling with which Yuki played it will stay with me for a long time.

I know it is ‘Sayonara’ as Yuki will return from time to time but it is sad that she is not around quite like she used to be.

Ryoko Harada

And the second ‘High Spot’ to violinist Ryoko Harada who played for us on January 20th at St Dunstan then again with her excellent Bells String Quartet on October 13th, the same day that Yomonokai played for us. Then at Bristol Cathedral something happened. On November 2nd at Bristol Cathedral Ryoko was accompanied by the immense talent of Kumi Matsuo on piano. Their concert started solidly enough but it built through an intricate and demanding arrangement and interpretation of a Poulenc composition to the finalé and, in the words of the Bristol Evening Posts concert reviewer John Packwood, “Ryoko finished the concert with a beautiful presentation of Massenet’s Meditation bringing out all the pathos of this popular piece”. Many in the audience were choked into tears at the beauty of this presentation. What made this concert such a wonderful memory for all who knew, was that Ryoko’s parents were present visiting from Japan especially to Bristol to see their daughter. Mr Harada explained……”This very day is the 30th wedding anniversary of my wife and I”. I, of course, had no idea when I offered Ryoko the date. That they saw their daughter at her very best was a wonderful memory for them. It made such a powerful point that music and its talented exponents can say so much that words never can. John Packwood gave Ryoko’s Concert 9/10. I think we should add another point to that.

Thank you Ryoko!

Wooden Spoon:- This year the UK coalition government. The new Government’s mantra of the ‘Big Society’ seems to be viewed through tiny eyes and an even smaller pocket. The sight of, in a packed parliament, the Prime Minister David Cameron hugging Chancellor George Osborne after the latter’s spending review speech ended will not fade for a long time. Osborne had just delivered a list of future debts and job losses for the British people seemingly with an emphasis on blaming the poor and unemployed for our economic woes. It was nothing to jump up and down and smirk smugly about for what was a failing of politicians of all political parties to properly oversee the British economy. Along with it was a message against ‘foreigners’ of whom I know many personally who, as a result of this ill thought through document of failure, are faced with returning to their land of birth even ‘though many years of training and a way of life had been built up in the UK and money and a warm and culturally rewarding cultural diversity brought into it beyond wealthy Russian Oligarchs so beloved of Osborne’s political class. “Send them packing back to where they came from” I hear some say. That goes for UK subjects residing in other people’s lands plundering their riches then does it? And where would all the bankers go to escape paying their taxes as they try to stuff their pockets with bonuses they have not earned and avoid loopholes not yet closed.

Many of Osborne’s ‘cuts’ proved no saving at all as what they saved in one quarter would cost more in another. So much of what Osborne and other Government departments wanted to do has also proved at odds with human rights legislation and previously espoused political ambitions. We needed an economically thought through spending review not an ideological plaything dressed up as an objective assessment of the economy. The electorate voted for that not a coalition. Thank goodness for the surveillance equipment they wanted to turn on ‘us’ has been turned on ‘them’ and caught so many government ministers with their mouths hanging out as they proved biased, personal and false to their public utterances and could not resist strutting around pontificating on their self-delusional ‘power’ to their perceived constituents some of which were, horror of horrors, trying to disguise their true purpose as reporters tearing an MP’s façade away.

On top of this the old short-sighted mantra of the ‘Arts’ as a previously tolerated but now expendable plaything. It has as much to do with our manufacturing base and interest as any technology. Take a violin…..the violin, the bow, the strings even the restorer….all come under the heading ‘Manufactured’.

Only a bully picks on the vulnerable in ‘strutting their stuff’ and it was not, is not, an edifying site to view government ministers promoting the prejudices of the extremes in society to try to justify their own political machinations. The crisis came through rank bad economic management, and nothing else, by a bunch of self-interested political cronies that stretched across the world into the cocktail parties of international grand-standers paid for with the income of the electorate at home and the greasing of palms by the very business vehicles of the gigantic and irresponsible squandering of other people’s money. And the laws framed for them allowed the felicitous banking and investment fraternity to get away with it for far too long and there are signs they have still not learned their lesson.

I add no-one else to our ‘wooden spoon’ as no-one other than these shady nonentities could get any lower or even share it as an equal. The people I know, love and fight for deserve better.

Japanese Heroes:- Mari Numada is in charge of the web site and artefacts department at the Embassy of Japan. I have never met her. I first contacted her to help Yukino Kano’s teaching trip to Castleford. She dealt with it admirably and subsequently invited me to advertise on the Embassy of Japan web site ‘Events’ page. She and her staff were diligent, caring and appreciative. The word ‘Hero’ is relative to us all. That she shone bright amongst some remote and irrational Embassy Officials deserves my relative definition of a ‘Hero’ . Thank you Mari.

I wish there were more and on an international stage but one shakes ones head at the failure of those mis-managing the Japanese economy.

A special thank you to all the musicians who played and sang for us in 2010. As ever you can feel proud of yourselves….I always feel a sense of pride when I think of you.

(Random order – number of concerts played in brackets if more than one):

Piano:- Masayuki Tayama, Yukino Kano (4), Dhayoung Yoon (2), Yuki Negishi (4) Kiyoko Fukuo (3), Nao Maebayashi, Akiko Murakami (2). Waiyin Lee (2), Emiko Miura, Hiroko Yamamoto, Clare Jones, Tom Blach, Yoko Nakamura, Eleanor Tagart (3), Tadashi Imai (3), Christina McMaster, Jo Ramadan, Nico De Villiers, Miyuki Kato, Chio Tsunakawa, Miwako Miki, Masachi Nishiyama, Nia Williams, Akiko Sakuma, Kumi Matsuo (2), Jozef Janik (2), Jelena Makarova (3), Jennifer Carter, Yuki Kagajo, Shaunda Wong, Philip Howard, Chisato Kusunoki, Alan Brown, Daniel Swain, Sam Liu, Daniel King-Smith, Nadav Hertzka.

Violin:- Tadasuki IIjima (3), Chihiro Ono (2), Kyoko Sugai (2), Ryoko Harada (2), Horia Vacarescu, Yuka Ishizuka (2), Haru Ushigusa, Sebastian Meuller, Alda Dizdari,Sarah McKenna, Midori Komachi, Mansoon Bow, Kazue Yanagida, Jung Yoon Cho, Yuki Tashiro, Tomoko Yahiro Viola:- Perdy Syers-Gibson.

Cello:- Vladamir Waltham, Daniel Davies (2), Linda Lin.

Flute:- Simon Gillis (2), Helen Wills.

Harpsichord:- Masumi Yamamoto, Takako Minami Dancer: Ayu Sonoda

Vocal:- (Soprano) Renae Willard (2), Emily Jane-Thomas, Sue Wharton, Lucy Hall.

(Baritone) Juwon Ogungbe

Ensembles (members mostly not above):-

Siskin Trio (Pippa Harris – piano, Elista Bogdanovic – violin, Sarah Brown – Clarinet)

Galitzin Quartet (Pedro Meireles – violin I, Owen Cox – violin II,)
(Thomas Kirby – viola, Ken Ichinose – cello)

River City Saxes (3) (Bob Lowdell – Soprano Sax, Chris Hooker – Baritone Sax,
(Noelle Sasportas – Alto Sax, Sally Blouet – Tenor Sax)

Busch Ensemble (Mathieu van Bellen – violin, Soh-Yon Kim – violin / viola, Jonathan
Bloxham – cello)

The Artisans (Emily Askew, Hazel Askew, Nicolás Mendoza…playing a variety of instruments including:- Vielle, Bagpipes, Recorders, percussion, Gothic Harp as well as voices)

Van Halsama Piano Trio ( Sebastiaan van Halsema – cello, Lisa Obert – violin,
(Janneke Brits – piano)

Bells String Quartet (Ryoko Harada – violin, Cristina Prats – violin,
(Josh Stilwell – viola, Maarit Kangron – cello)

7 / 8 Ensemble (2) (Tadasuke IIjima – violin, Galya Bisengalieva – violin, Manuela Mocanu – viola, colin Alexander – cello, Laurie Truluck – Horn, Boyan Ivanov – clarinet, Daniel Meseguer Sáez – Basson, David Cousins – Contrabass)

Erdesz Sring Trio / Quartets (3):- (Tadasuke IIjima (3) – violin, Akiko Ishikawa – violin (2), Yohei Nakijima (2) – viola, Amy Sims – Cello, Wei-Tsen Lin – cello,
Stjepan Hauser – cello, Daniel Broncano – clarinet)

Mercury Glee Club (2) some 35 choral members from Tokyo’s Hitotsubashi University. Resident conductor: Hiroshi Nagai courtesy of Teruko Iwanaga (EJEF)

Yomo No Kai (2) – Traditional Instrument Group (Koto, Shakuhaci and Shamisen) from Japan (Shizuoka prefecture). Founded by Ms. Michiko Hisamatsu.

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