ACMP’s Going Places Program Brings U.S. & International Players Together in Tokyo, Japan

ACMP’s recently introduced Going Places program helps players in the U.S. connect with players who are members of large locally-based adult amateur chamber music groups in Europe and Japan. By contacting a representative of the group listed on the ACMP website’s Going Places page, a player can connect with others beyond the scope of the ACMP Directory for rich musical and cultural experiences.

ACMP member Susan Alexander (Pf., Takoma Park, MD) sent us a report of how Going Places helped her connect with players in Tokyo, Japan for a wonderful afternoon of chamber music playing.

Susan writes: “On May 12, I helped to inaugurate Japan’s Going Places initiative as APA’s (Amateur Music Players’ Association, Japan) first international guest. I saw ACMP’s announcement of Going Places while I was planning the details of a trip to visit my son, who is teaching English in Tokyo. Somewhat on a whim, and not really expecting it to be so, I checked to see if maybe Japan was one of the participating countries. It was! I reached out to point-of-contact Kaaz Yoshida, for whom, I would come to learn, Going Places was the next logical step in a series of initiatives he has nurtured to harness the power of music to bring people of diverse cultures together. Kaaz is the organizer of APA’s Chuosen group– the 500 APA members around Tokyo belonging to groups according to the train line they are nearest– and also a member of ACMP’s International Ambassadors Council. And, conveniently for me, the Chuosen was the line closest to my son’s house.

I can say unequivocally that I wouldn’t even have thought about trying to play chamber music in Japan without Going Places!  Despite having been a member for many years, I haven’t been a big user of the directory; I think it was the brokering aspect of Going Places that made me feel I could do this.  

So a few months later, we took the train to the JR Musashi Sakai train station and met my new colleagues: Sayoko Yamashita and Kaaz on violin, Takeko Kubodera on viola, and Masako Usuda on cello. At the Civic Center, where Kaaz had reserved the music room, we got right to work, for we had an ambitious afternoon planned: Dvorak piano quintet Op. 81, Dohnanyi piano quintet Op 1, and Brahms piano quartet, Op. 60. After refreshments, Takeko’s cellist husband, Toshiro, joined in for some Mozart and Schubert trios.

At 5:00 it was time to adjourn for dinner at a nearby shabu shabu restaurant, another new experience for me. Many trays of meat, glasses of umeshu, and cups of sake later, it was, sadly, time to say goodbye, and it was back to the Chuosen and home.  I will always treasure the memory of this fantastic afternoon and evening: the warmth and generosity of my hosts and the instant intimacy playing music together brought, all the more precious for taking place in a country where formality in relationships is the norm, and where communicating through language is exceptionally difficult for a foreigner. I’m hoping for a next time.”

     

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