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Yokohama Choral Society

YOKOHAMA CHORAL SOCIETY

 The Yokohama Choral Society (the Y.C.S.) was founded in 1970, and its vision is to striving for full-fledged performances of the choral works of J.S. Bach. With its concerts planned and managed by its own members, the Y.C.S. has been actively performing various classical sacred works, with main emphasis on J.S. Bach's but also including the works of various composers such as Palestrina, Monteverdi, Schütz, Händel, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and Bruckner.
 The Y.C.S.'s Resident Conductor is Kazumi Yahiro, a former conductor of the Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus. The trainers, who provide the choir members with both voice training and music training, are Chieko Matsuo (Alt.), Chinatsu Kijima (Sop.), Akihide Kobayashi (Ten.), and Masakazu Sano (Bas.).
 In its history of more than 50 concerts, the Y.C.S. has had the privilege of having as guest conductors Michio Kobayashi, Hiroshi Wakabayashi, and Hideomi Kuroiwa, and from Leipzig Herr Prof. G.Chr. Biller, the Thomaskantor.
 In 1997, the Y.C.S. made a successful tour of Germany, which included performances at the St. Thomas's Lutheran Church in Leipzig, where J.S. Bach himself was the Cantor, and at a summer music festival in Thalbürgel.
 In commemoration of the 250th annyversary of Bach's death and also the 30th anniversary of the choir, the Y.C.S. organized, with kind cooperation of Prof. Biller and many others, the memorial concert titled “BACH FEST 2000 TOKYO”, which generated great responses.
 In 2002 the Y.C.S. had the second German tour and performed at three locations including the St. Thomas's Lutheran Church in Leipzig.
 In 2004, under the baton of Prof. Biller, the Y.C.S. performed the early version of St. Matthew Passion, which was well received in the choral circules.



Instructor Profiles

Conductor: Kazumi Yahiro

Photo: Tsuboi Photo Office
 Mr. Yahiro graduated from the Vocal Music Course of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music, having learned vocal music from Kei Yatabe and conducting technique from Akio Watanabe. As soon as graduating from the university, he became a founding member of Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus. Since then, as a concert master, he had been involved in the activities of the Chorus, working as a trainer, adaptor and conductor. In 1973, he was assigned as conductor of the Chorus. While being engaged in the nation-wide performance activity of the Chorus, he devoted himself also to developing amateur choruses and training chorus instructors. In 1982, he was sent to former East Germany under the overseas training scheme for artists by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus in 1997, and is now guest professor of Kurashiki Sakuyo College. Mr. Yahiro has been conductor of the YCS since 1973. YCS's association with Mr. Biller was created by Mr. Yahiro.

Guest conductor: Georg Christoph Biller

Photo: Taeko Toriyama
 Mr. Biller is the 16th cantor (counting from J. S. Bach) of the St. Thomas Church. At the age of ten, he entered Thomas School attached to the St. Thomas Boy's Choir to receive a thorough music education. In 1976, he entered Leipzig University of Music to learn conducting technique from Kurt Masur, etc. Having organized a chorus group, he was also active as a singer himself, giving performances with Gevanthaus Orchestra.
He has been Thomas-Cantor since 1992 and has also been professor of chorus conducting of Leipzig University of Music since 1994. The repertoire of the current Thomas-Cantor ranges widely from Gregorian chants to modern pieces, and he also composes music. The St. Thomas Boy's Choir has released many CDs and DVDs especially after his installation as cantor. YCS has given six performances conducted by Mr. Biller: "Messe in h-moll" in 1990, "St. John Passion (ver.2)" in 1996, singing motets at the morning service of the St. Thomas Church in 1997 and 2002, "Bach Fest 2000 Tokio" commemorative concert in 2000, and "St. Matthew Passion (initial version)" in 2004. Mr. Biller's music backed by his solid sense of religion has always been a source of inspiration for us.

Piano accompanist: Akiko Taniguchi

Ms. Taniguchi graduated from the Instruments Course of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music, where she was taught by Akiko Iguchi and Aiko Noro. After working as a part-time lecturer at the Opera Course of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music, she studied at the Robert Schumann College of Music, Germany. She has been active as an opera and chorus accompanist. She held a recital at Thalburgel, Germany in 1999 and at the Bartok House in Budapest, Hungary in 2000 and 2001.

Voice trainer (Alto): Chieko Matsuo

Ms. Matsuo graduated from the Vocal Music Course of Musashino Acadmia Musicae and its graduate school. She was taught by Hiroko Kimura, Karl Volfram and Augusto Mestara. In 1964, she joined Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus. From 1972 to 1976, she studied at the Stuttgart College of Music, Germany. While studying in Germany, she performed at various locations in Europe as a member of the South German Broadcasting Chorus, a modern music performing group and Schola Cantorum Stuttgart. Also, she has served as a soloist at a number of European churches, singing religious music. Upon returning to Japan in 1976, she held a recital at the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan Small Hall. Since then, she has successfully organized ten recitals around Japan, including those at the Comare Hall and Filia Hall. At present, she often appears on stage and TV as an alto of Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus.

Voice trainer (Soprano): Chinatsu Kijima

Ms. Kijima graduated from Kunitachi College of Music and was taught by Michiko Matsuo, Kinuyo Kawaguchi and Chikako Hashimoto. In 1992, she went to the U. K. to devote herself to voice training under the guidance of J. Cash. She won the fourth place at the Brugge International Early Music Competition in 1993 and was invited to the music festival of the competition in the next year to sing the solo part of Mozart's Grabmusik K.42. Also, she has performed at a number of music festivals and concerts in Europe, including Charpentier's opera "David and Jonathas" conducted by W. Christie and a duo recital with Nigel North. She returned to Japan in 1995 after completing the Early Music Course of Guildhall School of Music and Drama and acquiring a performance diploma at the Royal College of Music. Although her performance activity mainly focuses on the baroque, she has a wide-ranging repertoire, including renaissance music, German lieds and modern music. Currently, she is an instructor at the St. Gregory's House Institute for Religious Music and a member of Cappella Gregoriana Favorina, a vocal ensemble of the St. Gregory's House.

Voice trainer (Tenor): Akihide Kobayashi

Mr. Kobayashi graduated from the Vocal Music Course of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music and completed the graduate school of the University. He also completed the 6th class of the Opera Training Institute of the Agency for Cultural Affairs. He received the Tenor Special Prize at the 16th Concorso di Lilica Italiana and won a prize at the 56th Music Competition of Japan. He has appeared in a number of concerts, such as the NHK FM Recital, Beethoven's Symphony No.9 and Mozart's Requiem. His opera repertoire includes Tamino in "The Magic Flute", Nemorino in "The Elixir of Love" and Camille in "The Merry Widow". He was sent to Italy in October 1989 by the Agency for Cultural Affairs to pursue his studies. During his one-year stay in Italy, he won the second place at the 8th El Corano International Vocal Competition. He was taught by Akihiko Mori, Teruo Mitsubayashi, Shojiro Hikita, Yoshihisa Yamaji, Virgilia Polonini and Carlo Mericiani. Mr. Kobayashi is currently a member of the Tokyo Nikikai Opera Foundation.

Voice trainer (Bass): Masakazu Sano

Mr. Sano graduated from the Vocal Music Course of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts & Music with honors. Upon graduation, he has the privilege of performing in the presence of the Emperor at Toka Gakudo in the Imperial Palace. He also completed the Vocal Music Course of the graduate school of the University. He won the second place at the Japan Italy Vocal Concorso and the Cercle Deux Colonnes and received a prize at the Music Competition of Japan as well as an encouragement prize at the Sogakudo Japanese Song Competition. He has played many roles in opera performances, such as Don Giovanni in "Don Giovanni", Rigoletto in "Rigoletto", Germont in "La Traviata" and Marcello in "La Boheme". He has also served as a soloist in a number of religious music performances, such as "Requiem" by Mozart, Fauré and Duruflé, "German Requiem" by Brahms, "Messiah" by Handel, "Cantata" by Bach, "The Death of Jesus" by Graun (the first performance in Japan), "Messe" by Puccini and Schubert. For three consecutive years from 1996 to 1998, he appeared as a soloist in the Japan-US Friendship Concert of Symphony No.9 at the Carnegie Hall in New York. Currently, Mr. Sano is a lecturer at Shobi Junior College and Seitoku University. He is also a member of Sankikai, Japan Italy Music Association, Japan Vocalists Academy, La Société Fauré du Japon, Japan Federation of Musicians and the Tokyo Nikikai Opera Foundation.

YOKOHMA CHORAL SOCIETY CONCERT HISTORY


Concert Schedule


The recruitment of members and choral practicing schedule

 Yokohama Choral Society (YCS) is recruiting members. At first please observe our choral practice those who have an interest in.
 Yokohama Choral Society (YCS) is recruiting members for musical performance and activities. We are expecting those who take part in our activities continuously and actively. Anytime you are welcomed to join us and feel free to ask us to observe and take part in YCS. We would like to welcome everybody. (Especially for male voice…tenor)
 And it is all right to join directly in our choral practice that is scheduled on every Saturday. The details are as follows.
 
  *Practice schedule  Every Saturday 18:00~21:00
  *Places  Yoshinocho municipal plaza (Yoshinocho),
 Iwama municipal plaza (Tennocho), and others.
  *Membership fee  Admission fee 1,000yen
 Membership fee 5,500yen a month
  *Telephone  0466-23-9221 (Arai)
 (Please feel free to observe our choral practice)
 
 "Arai" the phone number mentioned above had been in trouble because of a large number of spam mails and mails with computer virus. That’s why, since March 2006 "Arai" has changed e-mail address(e-mail address is not open to public),and now accepts inquiries by telephone. In case you have difficulties in inquiries by telephone, please e-mail Yamada. (e-mail address the following mentioned in this page.) We are checking e-mails everyday,but we are sorry to miss checking occasionally by various reason. Please e-mail again in case you wouldn’t get any response within several days, and e-mail in text not in HTML for the security.
 Please remember Yokohama Choral Society.
address of YAMADA(Yamada)

Yokohama Choral Society (YCS) FAQ
For your information

Q.  Is there any limitation to join YCS?
A.  We have the age limit to join choral activities. And please keep your manners and our rules on the stage. Please call 0466-23-9221(Arai)in case you would like to know details about YCS ,

Q.  What about attendance?
A.  For each musical performance, we are required to attend at least more than 60% of choral practices including voice trainings.

Q.  What about choral practice schedule?
A.  Our activities is scheduled at 18:00~21:00 on every Saturday, and we have a training camp 2 months before each performance.

Q.  Where do you have your activities?
A.  We have our activities at Yoshinocho municipal plaza(Yoshinocho) ,Iwama municipal Plaza(Tennocho),and others. These places are located in about 20 minutes from Yokohama station by train.

Q.  How do you proceed your choral practice schedule?
A.  From 18:00~18:30 we have warm-up exercises and vocal exercises. After exercises we have choral practice for about 1hour,and take a 15-minute break. After taking a break,we have choral practice until about 20:45. Finally we break up at about 21:00 after making arrangements.


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