Toyota to hold 17th Annual Classical Music concert series in Asia

TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announced today that it will hold its annual series of concerts, "Toyota Classics—A World of Harmony", for classical music fans in Asia from October 22 to November 4. The event will take place in seven cities, including Singapore, Manila and Taipei.

This year's tour—the 17th since TMC began holding the concerts in 1990—continues to aim at contributing to the culture of music in Asia. The event will also be conducted in cooperation with Toyota distributors in Asia, with proceeds from each concert donated to local charities.

In celebration of the 250th anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the 2006 Toyota Classics series will feature the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra performing a collection of Mozart's masterpieces and world-famous classical selections.

The orchestra will be under the direction of Maestro Tatsuya Shimono, an award-winning conductor recognized at the Tokyo International Music Competition and the Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors in France.

The featured soloist will be flutist Ayako Takagi, one of the most acclaimed performers of her generation, whose numerous awards include grand prizes at the Japan Winds Competition. She has also performed extensively with various European orchestras including Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and Ensemble Orchestral de Paris.

Moreover, the orchestra will perform pieces with local artists to encourage international exchange through music.

Toyota plans to donate the proceeds from ticket sales in each city to local social welfare and other organizations.

An outline of the concert and selected profiles can be found on the following pages.

Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra 

Founded on July 10, 1966. The present conductor lineup is Ryusuke Numajiri (Permanent Conductor), Ken'ichiro Kobayashi (Laureate Conductor), Moshe Atzmon (Honorary Conductor) and Bob Sakuma (Pops Orchestra Music Director).

Since its establishment in 1995, the Nagoya Phil Pops Orchestra has been playing a distinctively colorful musical role. In 2002 Vienna Philharmonic Concertmaster Rainer Honeck assumed the position of Principal Guest Concertmaster for the Nagoya Phil. Ioan Holender, the Director of the Vienna State Opera, became the Phil's Artistic Advisor in April 2004.

In 1988, Jun'ichi Hirokami conducted the Nagoya Phil in Europe on its successful first foreign tour, with visits to France and Switzerland. An equally successful Asian tour was held in 2000. The third overseas tour was occasioned by a formal invitation to participate in the Prague Spring International Music Festival. This European tour was also greatly successful.

The orchestra has received the Tokai TV Cultural Prize (1990), the Aichi Prefecture Arts and Culture Prize (1991) and the Agency for Cultural Affairs Award for recording arts (1997).

As of 2006, the orchestra's fortieth anniversary year, all subscription concerts are being performed twice, and a new Civic Center Masterpiece Concert Series has been launched. It is hoped that these new initiatives will open new vistas for the orchestra's artistic growth.

Tatsuya Shimono (Conductor) 

Born in Kagoshima in 1969. Mr. Shimono received a diploma in conducting from the Accademia Musicale Chigiana of Siena, Italy in 1996. He was accepted as a conductor trainee by the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra in 1997. There he studied under the late Takashi Asahina until 1999, when he received a scholarship from the Agency for Cultural Affairs that he used to enter the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts, where he studied until June 2001.

Mr. Shimono rose to prominence following his receipt of the first prize for conducting in the 12th Tokyo International Music Competition and the Hideo Saito award in 2000, and, in September 2001, first prize in the 47th Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors. Since then, he has performed as guest conductor of many major orchestras of Japan as well as of the Strasbourg Phil (France), the Bordeaux Orchestra (France), the Cannes Orchestra (France), the Besançon Phil (France) and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra (Austria), among others. In 2005 he participated in the La Folle Journée au Japon music festival and made a debut as guest conductor of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi (Italy), which often led to repeat invitations.

In November 2006, Mr. Shimono will become the first conductor to fill the position of Resident Conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. In this new role, the level of expectations focused on him is higher than ever.

Mr. Shimono has studied under Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Hideomi Kuroiwa, Osamu Ishii, Jun'ichi Hirokami, Myung-Whung Chung, Yuri Temirkanov, Leopold Hager, Yuji Yuasa and Ervin Acel. He received the Idemitsu Music Award and the Akeo Watanabe Music Foundation Award in 2002. His debut CD, conducting the Osaka Phil in performances of works by Hiroshi Oguri, was released internationally by Naxos in 2003.

Ayako Takagi (Flute) 

Ayako Takagi is among Japan's most sought-after young flutists, thanks to an attractive combination of technique and style that has won her an enthusiastic following. Her numerous awards include grand prizes at the 17th Japan Winds Competition (2000) and the 70th Japan Music Competition (2001), as well as the Nippon Steel Music Award (2001).

Ms. Takagi started piano at the age of three and flute when she was eight. A graduate of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts, she has studied under Tomoe Nishimura, Kazuyoshi Hashimoto, Gerard Noack, Tetsuya Kosaka, Narumi Yamazaki, Chang-Kook Kim and P. Meisen.

Other awards she has received include the Mainichi Shimbun All Japan Student Music Competition of Tokyo (first prize, 1995), the Japan Flute Convention Competition (first prize and audience award, 1999), the Kobe International Flute Competition (2005, third prize) and the Jean-Pierre Rampal International Flute Competition.

Ms. Takagi performs regularly in recitals, as both member and soloist of chamber music ensembles and as soloist with orchestras. She has toured Japan as soloist of the I Solisti Filarmonici Italiani, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the Ensemble Archi Della Scala and the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra. In the fall of 2004 she debuted in Paris as soloist with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris.

By June 2005, Ms. Takagi had released nine CDs. The latest, entitled "To the Sea," is a duo with guitarist Shin-ichi Fukuda.

For more information, please contact Paul Nolasco/Tomomi Imai at (03) 3817-91619150