On January 17, 1995, the Hanshin and Awaji region, in which the city of Kobe (pop. 1.5 million) is located, was hit by a great earthquake. The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake claimed the lives of over 6,400 people and caused serious economic damage estimated at 9,926.8 billion yen. But even while experiencing difficulty accessing just the bare necessities, residents in the stricken region renewed their awareness of the special role that cultural and artistic events had played in their lives.
Now a decade later, the Hyogo Performing Arts Center has opened as a symbol of the psychological and cultural rebirth of the region. The Center will be a new hub of artistic and cultural activities, with its three state-of-the-art halls-the Grand Hall (2,001 seats), the Theater (800 seats), and the Recital Hall (417 seats)-capable of accommodating concerts, operas, ballets, plays and various other performing arts events. The internationally known conductor Yutaka Sado serve as the Artistic Director and the Artistic Advisor, respectively. Concurrently with the opening of the Center, the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra, an ensemble of young, brilliant professional musicians selected by Mr. Sado through competitive worldwide auditions, was established. His intent is to create an international orchestra with the “freshest” talents in the world.
By organizing various programs, offering its facilities to the public, and presenting a wide range of cultural activities, the Hyogo Performing Arts Center aspires to expand the network of artistic interactions and creative activities within Japan and throughout the world.
The logo of the Hyogo Performing Arts Center represents “Rebirth,” “Liveliness,” and “Creativity.” The design, which can be viewed from any angle, embodies the hope that the Center will serve as a venue for community members to enjoy interactions and communications and will make a comprehensive contribution to the increased liveliness of the region and its residents through artistic and cultural events.
With Yutaka Sado, a world-famous conductor, as Artistic Director as Artistic Advisor, the Hyogo Performing Arts Center is intended to serve as a community center where creative activities are pursued in cooperation with local residents. Mr. Sado, who is in charge of the musical events, will plan and organize enjoyable concerts and familiar opera performances to provide people of all ages with opportunities to experience and interact with all types of music. Under the leadership of Mr. Sado, the Center will serve as an international hub of performing arts activities.
Produce Opera ”La Traviata” ©Takashi Iijima
The Hyogo Performing Arts Center stages self-produced programs in a wide variety of artistic genres. Specifically, the Grand Hall accommodates orchestral, opera, and ballet performances by world-famous groups and “hot” Japanese artists. The Theater stages plays, musicals, and traditional performing arts, including plays produced jointly with other theaters and new operas created by residents of Hyogo Prefecture. The Recital Hall is intended for recitals, chamber music, jazz, and Asian music concerts, featuring leading international artists and local performers.
Gustavo Gimeno Command.
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
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“The Little Prince” ©Takako Kishi
Exclusively affiliated with the Center, the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra performs concerts in the Grand Hall conducted by its Artistic Director Yutaka Sado and other internationally acclaimed conductors and featuring soloists. Regular concerts offer interesting repertoire,including baroque,romantic,and contemporary music. Other special concerts feature familiar pieces appealing to people of all ages. Recital Hall, performances include chamber orchestra and chamber music concerts, featuring a broad repertoire with various instrument combinations.In addition, the orchestra provides music appreciation concerts to elementary and junior high school students in Hyogo Prefecture, and conducts outreach activities outside of the Center to interact with local residents, so that musical culture will take firm root in the local communities.
The Hyogo Performing Arts Center engages in promotional and educational activities and aims to be the ideal venue for many people to appreciate the value of the performing arts and to enjoy personal interactions through cultural and artistic activities. For people who think concerts are too formal and feel somewhat awkward about attending them, the Center regularly provides one-hour “one-coin” concerts at the price of ¥500 and other low-price events to encourage more people to enjoy music casually. To help audiences deepen their understanding of specific musical pieces and artists, the Center also organizes talk sessions and lectures combined with concerts, as well as workshops, back-stage tours, and various other participatory programs.
Produce Opera “La Traviata” workshop ©Takashi Iijima