- About NHKSO
- Social Contribution Activities
Social Contribution Activities
Music has the power to cheer us up and give us moments of calmness. The NHK Symphony Orchestra jumps out of the concert hall to deliver beautiful sounds to people from every walk of life at a variety of places in an effort to contribute to society.
Nurturing the future of children
Pursuing the art of music of excellent quality, and utilizing it in education to enrich children's hearts and minds.
NHK Music Club for Children
Under the catchphrase of "the NHK Symphony Orchestra comes to school" in collaboration with NHK, NHK Symphony Orchestra musicians visit primary and junior high schools nationwide to present a 'mini concert'. Since the start of this project in 2007, we have visited more than 130 schools, creating precious opportunities for children to become familiar with classical music by teaching them the nature of each instrument and playing music together with the children. NHK's local bureau introduces the visit in its news program, while NHK distributes a short video showing animated expressions of children on its website.
NHK Symphony Orchestra Hotto Concert
The NHK Symphony Orchestra presents a special concert of a collection of classical music masterpieces for children and adults to enjoy together during school's summer holidays every year. The concert includes contents which cannot be seen in usual classical music concerts such as talks by a conductor and orchestra musicians, interactions with audience members through quizzes, and a popular figure presenting the concert. Before and after the concert, children can enjoy a hands-on experience of playing a variety of musical instruments guided by our musicians at the NHK Hall's foyer - a popular event attracting many from children who will touch a musical instrument for the first time in their life, to those who are playing as extracurricular activities, waiting for their turn in a long line. We hope some of them will become excellent musicians in the future.
Let's enjoy music with the NHK Symphony Orchestra!
Started in 2021, this project aims to encourage pre-school children to enjoy the sounds produced by musical instruments. We have invited nursery school children to our rehearsal studio located at Takanawa, Minato-ward. At the venue, which has been decorated with colorful handmade paper garlands and ornaments, our musicians taught them how sounds are produced by the instruments, performed musical pieces on the theme of animals' roars and cries and thus created unforgettable moments for the children. We will continue our efforts to enrich children's hearts and minds by encouraging children to come in close contact with classical music and musicians.
Fostering excellent professional musicians
Passing on accomplished performance techniques to the next generation and to foster excellent professional musicians is also our mission.
NHK Symphony Academy
NHK Symphony Academy was launched in 2003 with the aim of nurturing young orchestra musicians in Japan. Students for this project are selected by an audition. Usually about ten students undergo training, receiving lessons from our musicians and participating in rehearsals and concerts under their guidance. To date more than forty young musicians have graduated from the academy to work in orchestras at home and abroad including the NHK Symphony Orchestra.
Appointing an assistant conductor
We are fostering young musicians, who aspire to become professional conductors, by engaging them as assistants to world renowned conductors who visit to conduct concerts of the NHK Symphony Orchestra. Those assistant conductors will stay with the conductors from rehearsals to concerts, and so learn conducting skills and techniques, including how to communicate with orchestra in a practical manner. Maestro Kazuki Yamada, who served an assistant to André Previn from 2010 to 2012, and Maestro Masaru Kumakura, who was an assistant to Paavo Järvi from 2016 to 2019, are now well-known professional conductors both at home and abroad.
Delivering music to hospitals and welfare
Delivering live music to those who cannot attend concerts for various reasons to cheer them up and make them feel at ease is an important part of our work. About two to five musicians form a small ensemble to present a "mini concert" at foyers of hospitals and elderly care facilities and enjoy interacting with patients, their family members who look after them, or elderly people through the performances. Some patients come to the foyer in mobile beds and wheelchairs. Our musicians experience the power of music at first hand.
Supporting disaster-stricken regions
Due to climate change, damage caused by heavy rain has frequently occurred in recent years. Visiting areas ravaged by disasters, cheering up and supporting those who have met with disasters is one of the works the NHK Symphony Orchestra has put emphasis on.
In 2020, the orchestra visited a primary school in Marumori town in Miyagi Prefecture, where the school building had been damaged and was no longer usable due to Typhoon No. 19 which had hit the area a year before. Together with an invited guest Michie Koyama, a pianist born in Miyagi Prefecture, we closely communicated with the primary school children who were forced to move to another school to study for 9 months. In 2021, we visited primary and junior high schools at Kokonoe-machi, Oita Prefecture, where the gymnasium had been submerged by the disastrous heavy rain the year before. We are committed to supporting disaster-stricken areas with our performances.
Enlarging the sphere of international exchange
Music is a bridge connecting the world. We hope the bonds created by our performances will spread throughout the world.
Inviting students from overseas to our concerts
Working together with universities in Tokyo, we have invited students studying in Japan to more than twenty of our concerts every year. Students who came and heard our concerts have amounted to more than 1000 in number. In the questionnaire we asked them to write after the performance, some wrote, "I was deeply impressed as it was the first classical music concert I ever heard live," or "I was reminded of the quality of Japanese orchestras." At the moment, this project has been suspended due to the pandemic, but we had resumed in 2022.
Exchange with a symphony orchestra of Vietnam
Since 2016, the NHK Symphony Orchestra has been undertaking an exchange with the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, a leading orchestra of the country, and in 2018, embarked on a concert tour in Vietnam, including an invitation to the President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and thus contributed to a cultural exchange between the two nations. In 2019, the NHK Symphony Orchestra dispatched three members from the strings sections at the request of the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra. They taught local musicians, and took part in the orchestra's subscription concerts in Hanoi as a friendly gesture. As members of an Asian orchestra, our musicians have worked to enhance technicalities, and have helped demonstrate the potential of Asian orchestras to the world.
Collaborating with universities and experts
We have been joining forces with people from different fields to tackle new challenges including measures against the COVID-19 pandemic as well as utilization of digital technologies.
Distributing concerts in collaboration with university
Co-operating with the Tokyo University of Technology, the NHK Symphony Orchestra has distributed its concerts via official YouTube channel in 2021. (*)
Students of the School of Media Science shot the concert and edited the footage, then under the guidance of NHK technical staff, they completed the film at a professional level. The number of views of the performance exceeded 100,000 times in the first two weeks after the film was posted, and the videos of interviews of performers they created together with the concert also drew public attention. This joint project to deliver our performance to the world utilizing digital technologies in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis has become a valuable touchstone for both the orchestra and the university.
Verification experiment of droplet infection risks
In July 2020 when the music industry was still at a loss as to what to do against the new coronavirus, an experiment to examine how droplets spread during a performance was conducted by an industry investigative group. The NHK Symphony Orchestra gave full cooperation and dispatched many of its musicians and staff members to the group's research facility located in Nagano Prefecture. In the experiments, medical and public health experts analyzed how droplets would be dispersed and how different they were from instrument to instrument. This effort gave us an idea of safe placement of musical instruments on stage, and also helped to draw out a unified manual for the classical music industry. Thanks to this effort, there have been no reports of cluster infections in classical music concerts so far, and safety guidelines have steadily been established. We will keep working with infectious disease experts, and try our best to promote a safe and worry-free environment for presenting concerts.