CLS MEMORIES: A trip to Japan

Posted on: January 18, 2022 in: CLS Memories, Japan Tour 2017

Teruko Iwanaga, has been a trustee and generous supporter of CLS for over 25 years. Here she reflects on the orchestra’s tour to Japan in 2017. 

I was introduced to CLS by a minister at the Japanese Embassy (Mr Shimanouchi). I thought my mission would be to make CLS famous in Japan and I decided to accept an invitation to join the Board in the hope that, one day, I would be able to take CLS to Japan. 

My dream of taking CLS to Japan materialised in 2017. My friend, Charlotte de Rothschild, told me that it had long been her ambition to make a whole recording of orchestral arrangements of Kakyoku songs. 

So, I wanted to see if CLS and Charlotte would be a good match and I arranged for an initial meeting sometime in 2014 at Kiku restaurant in London with John Singer (CLS Chair), Matthew Swann (CLS Chief Executive), Charlotte, her agent, Nimbus, and myself.  An orchestral recording was then arranged for February 2016 at Nimbus’ Wyastone recording facility at Monmouth with a release scheduled for autumn 2016. 

In the meantime, I took Matthew to Japan in March 2015 for an investigative trip to see if a concert tour would be possible.  Charlotte had already held many private concerts in Japan backed by MIN-ON and we were fortunate to get them on our side. Through wonderful and excellent organisation and planning by MIN-ON, we were able to hold five concerts in Japan – at Bunkamura Orchard Hall in Tokyo; Olympus Hall Hachioji; The Symphony Hall in Osaka; Forest Hall in Nagoya; and Minato Mirai Hall in Yokohama. 

The combination of CLS and Charlotte worked well and all concerts were held to a full capacity audience.  24 CLS musicians, John, Matthew, Elaine, Nancy and I went to Japan and had seven truly wonderful days there. Everything worked like clockwork thanks to MIN-ON, Elaine and everyone’s efforts.   

We were also able to arrange ‘Meet the Music’ projects during our stay in Japan. Musicians were split into three groups and each group conducted community work at a care home, a kindergarten and a hospital for children.  All three sessions were a great success and every musician’s personality shone through these programmes. 

For me, every CLS concert is very special.  However, the ones I enjoyed most were the concerts held in Japan.  I was able to get to know some of the musicians really well even accompanying them to an onsen (hot springs and bathing facility) on their free day in Nagoya. It was a real joy to see those musicians playing on the stage so beautifully and be so appreciated by the Japanese audience.