In light of the ongoing risks and uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, and still with no indication that restrictions on international travel to Japan are to be lifted, we have concluded that presenting PMF in its pre-pandemic form will not be possible this year. We have therefore begun to shift away from our previous plans and will implement PMF 2021 according to the following policy.
2021 represents a crucial season for us as an “international educational music festival,” as we must take on a new form, suited to the unique challenges of our historical moment, in order to reopen in a pandemic and yet somehow preserve the PMF philosophy of “fostering the young musicians of the world.” Steadily moving forward, with the additional aid of extensive online tools, we will strive to present the joy of classical music and of PMF to the world, presenting this year’s festival with the goal of connecting PMF to the future.
Pacific Music Festival 2021 outline
Following on the cancellation of last year's festival, once again this year the 2020 Academy will not be able to gather in Sapporo as one orchestra to make music together. These 87 young musicians will have the opportunity to receive direct online instruction from the world-class PMF faculty, and we will present them to the world as members of the 2021 Academy. Their “online masterclasses” will be made available on the PMF website, along with subsequent performance videos, putting the instruction they received into practice.
This year’s PMF Orchestra will consist of musicians from within Japan, performing 2 orchestral programs. Twenty-eight young musicians selected through auditions in 2020 who currently reside in Japan will serve as members of the 2021 Academy.
Alongside them for the first half of the festival, a group of musicians selected from among the roughly 250 PMF alumni in Japan will gather in Sapporo once again, surely bringing their memories of PMF and experience from the intervening years to bear on their performance. They will be led by Keitaro Harada, who studied with Fabio Luisi as a member of the PMF Conducting Academy and is now highly active on the world stage. As concertmaster, prominent young violinist Sunao Goko, who has served as guest concertmaster with the NHK Symphony Orchestra, returns to PMF after his highly successful performance of the Tchaikovsky concerto at PMF’s 30th anniversary festival in 2019. And pianist Yuko Mifune, who celebrated her 30th year as a soloist in 2019 and has continually intrigued audiences with her wide range of repertoire from Classical to modern, will serve as soloist!
In the second half, music students selected from Japanese universities will perform alongside the Academy, and the sections will be led by principal players from professional orchestras in Japan. To these university students, playing alongside top-class professionals will surely be an invaluable experience, and may even inspire them to strive toward becoming future Academy members themselves. Leading this orchestra, young conductor Nodoka Okisawa, who captured the world’s attention as winner of the 56th international conducting competition in Besançon, will make her first appearance at PMF. And this program's soloist will be violinist Fumiaki Miura, who in 2009 became the youngest winner of the Joseph Joachim Hannover International Violin Competition – said to be the most difficult in the world – at just 16 years of age, and has since become widely known even outside the music world for his performances in the NHK TV drama series “Sanada Maru.”
Times are difficult for PMF faculty members, as Covid-19 has caused their orchestras in Vienna, Berlin, and America to cancel many concerts, and they will sadly be unable to come to Sapporo this summer. However, faculty ensembles in their respective locations will gather and record performance videos, which we will compile into Digital Concerts for the world to enjoy!
Strict measures to prevent infection will be in place at all live concerts in the newly renovated Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara, the Picnic Concert at the Sapporo Art Park Outdoor Stage, and at all of the various locations in Sapporo, such as cultural facilities where outreach concerts take place. Additionally, we will be testing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as a new way to provide shared classical music experiences on smartphones and PCs.
We believe that providing concert experiences that can be enjoyed safely and with peace of mind will be a major role for PMF to play – we aim to create environments that allow listeners to just let go and enjoy the music.