Tracing PMF's path to this point.
The PMF 2021 Academy consisted of 58 of the young musicians who had passed auditions for PMF 2020 before its cancellation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, hailing from 16 countries and regions. As international travel to Japan was still restricted in 2021, the 25 Academy members who were based in Japan (the “Orchestra Academy”) came together with Japan-based PMF alumni, orchestral players, and university music students (the latter in the 2nd half only) to form the PMF Orchestra JAPAN. Program A featured works by American composers conducted by Keitaro Harada and was enthusiastically received. Academy members outside Japan (the “Online Academy”) received lessons from PMF faculty in Europe and the US, and their lesson videos were released online. Other new initiatives included the “PMF Classical Lab♪,” which explored the inner workings of the orchestra and the joy of classical music, performance videos produced by PMF faculty ensembles in their respective locations and released as paid online content, a paid livestream of the Opening Concert at Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara, and more. Originally, 29 concerts were planned in Sapporo, Tomakomai, Hakodate, and Naie, including 25 during the 10-day festival period (July 23-August 1), and 4 just prior to the Opening, but due to Covid-19 infections the 2nd half of the festival was canceled. Ultimately, 16 concerts were held.
PMF 2020 was scheduled to include nearly 40 concerts, including a full production of Mozart's opera Don Giovanni - the grand culmination of 6 years since the appointment of Valery Gergiev as PMF Artistic Director - but due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the festival had to be cancelled (April 3) for the first time since its founding, and it was subsequently decided that the 72 Academy members from 22 countries and regions, selected from among 1,212 applicants, would be invited to PMF 2021.
With a strong desire to somehow provide courage and hope through the power of music in this time of hardship, the PMF Organizing Committee planned various alternative projects starting with "PMF Connects," a platform for sharing performance videos by PMF alumni and faculty along with messages of encouragement (April 20), and the all-online "PMF Connects ~2020 Summer Festival~" was held for 25 days between July 10 and August 3 (the originally scheduled festival period), offering a sense of PMF's unique content in a format accessible during the pandemic, garnering nearly 250,000 views from 87 countries and regions as of the end 2020.
Then in early Autumn, with infection rates in Japan dropping, live concerts were resumed (September 5) with strict preventive measures to ensure that audiences could safely enjoy performances in the "PMF Connects LIVE!" series, at various venues within Sapporo - 13 of the 16 originally planned concerts were successfully presented (as of March 2020).
On the management side, an evaluation committee consisting of independent experts reviewed PMF's achievements and compiled their proposals on the festival's future direction into the "PMF Vision Report 2020" (October 5).