By UL for Hanoi Grapevine
Conductor Kotaro Kimura is back to Vietnam with Vietnam National Opera and Ballet (VNOB). This time he will conduct a big orchestra and a choir of over 150 singers from Vietnam and Japan, featuring some of Beethoven’s works including Symphony No.9. Together they will perform in June 5 and 6, 2018 at the Hanoi Opera House. This will be a classy show featuring not just music but also a beautiful surreal ballet-contemporary dance called “The Moment” choreographed by Nguyen Ngoc Anh and Ta Thuy Chi.
On this occasion, Hanoi Grapevine had a quick interview with Japanese conductor Kotaro Kimura to explore his view on music. It seems music never leaves his mind. During the interview, Kotaro sometimes raised his baton and drew a few lines in the air, his eyes looked dreamy.
How many times you have been to Vietnam? In how many years?
About 10 times, in 10 years. It was Ho Chi Minh City when I first went to Vietnam. My friend introduced me to VNOB and I finally came here. This is the third time with VNOB.
What is your distinctive style?
I look like a doctor because everybody has many types of faces. I sometimes become a surgeon, sometimes a doctor, sometimes they (the orchestra) help me (choose the style).
About the coming performance, what will be the spirit?
Music have no walls. I am Japanese, they are Vietnamese, but we are same. We can become one by music. So we worked together. I want the audience to hear our sounds, what Beethoven feels like then. That’s all.
What energy you will bring?
I don’t know. Just feel the time. NOW.
Are you afraid of making mistakes?
No, no. We must not care about mistake. Feel from the heart. Important: Try hard. Yes.
Would you say a few words to prepare the audience for the coming performance?
I just want to say to them: Just feel. And watch everybody’s faces. They feel happy to play.
You mean the musicians?
Yes, their smiles.
You used to perform at Kessenuma city, Miyagi province in Japan after the devastating earthquake in 2011, how special was the experience to you?
Yes, I was born there. I am from Kessenuma. They (Miyagi province) invited us, so our orchestra and our group went together. We played Symphony no. 9, too. They (Miyagi) said they want people to become happy together, so I chose Beethoven.
Apart from Vietnam, you also work in other countries. What benefit has it brought you?
Hmmm, it is difficult to answer, but everybody must try harder and if we do that, we have a good future.
Thank you for your time!
About conductor Kotaro Kimura:
Born in Miyagi, Japan in 1981,Kimura graduated from the faculty of education, Music course at Fukuoka University of education. He studied conducting under Hirotaka Tachibana, and at a conducting class of Toho Gakuen School of Music. In 2007 he established a junior orchestra named Orchestra Style K. He has been conducting numerous orchestras and important music events including the performance at the earthquake stricken area Kesennuma, Miyagi in 2011, the 9.11 Memorial Concert in New York in 2013. He often works in Japan, Russia (with the St. Petersburg Tchaikovsky symphony orchestra as guest principal conductor) and sometimes in Vietnam.