Fukuoka has created many musicians and artists, many of whom have become prominent in classical music. Emblematic of that is the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra. Based in Fukuoka City, it has a rather long history for a regional orchestra. Its forerunner was established in 1953, and after a name change, it became an organization of professionals in 1973.
The orchestra offers public performances about 130 times a year, primarily in Kyushu, though they have given concerts in Tokyo and Osaka. They’ve also performed throughout Asia, including Fukuoka City’s sister city, Busan, South Korea. Thus, the group is performing a role for international exchange as an orchestra for Fukuoka, the gateway to Asia.
They practice at Centre Culturel Suenaga, a wonderful facility. The building is surrounded by a forest, and in addition to the ideal concert hall, it contains a gallery for displaying art and a museum dedicated to the work of artist Hiroki Oda a Fukuoka native. The hall can be rented for use on days that the orchestra doesn’t practice, and it is often used for other concerts, plays, and presentations.
There are many advantages for having a professional orchestra in a regional area in addition to the opportunities it provides to be exposed to fine music. It also has great significance in fostering a musical culture in the city, as well as musicians who aspire to become professionals. This time of year is known for performances of Beethoven’s Ninth and splendid New Year’s concerts. What better way to spend the yearend holidays than by attending a concert of the local orchestra?
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn168, Dec. 2012)