Guitar Orchestra from Taiwan
From September 28 to October 13, the 28th All Japan Guitar Concours was held by Japan Educational Guitar Association (NKG) and International Guitar Orchestra Association (IGOA). It consisted of 9 sections such as solo, ensemble, orchestra, conducting, arrangement, composition, instruction, guitars & Mandolins, and manufacturing. This is the one of the largest concours of guitar in Japan.

Dr. Hiroki Niibori who is the president of NKG and IGOA, served as one of the judges of this concours. He wrote his impression about this year's concours in this issue. Please let us extract some parts from it. First is his impression throughout the concours.

'The most impressive thing of this year was that everyone who presented good performance placed great importance on "Breathing Method".

"Breathing Method" I call here is, of course the proper breathing that draws out the real attraction of the music. In an ensemble or an orchestra, it is natural that a conductor leads players by his breathing. Conductor's breathing is an important action "before the point". Players feel the conductor's breathing before the point (of play), and know how the music will be next. Without the proper analysis and concrete image about the music, conductors can't handle his breathing . It's not a matter of theory but of his sensitivity. They should make efforts to express their image of the music first, and then refer to the theory just as a help. Players who study music without an instructor are likely to place importance on the music theory, and try to copy the performance by professionals. Players would better to concentrate on their sensitivity and image rather than the theory or copying someone else.

Then, how to acequire the ideal breathing in a short time? The answer is that; to study NRM (Niibori Rhythm Method) under the well-educated instructors. NRM is the efficient way to acquire the sense of rhythm and the ideal breathing using guitars. I felt that every player would make great progress by looking over the basic NRM, and studying the latest NRM, formation and conducting. In 1998, we are planning to have seminars actively for people who aim to be a conductor. It must be a great help for such people, active conductors and even players.'

After this, Dr. Niibori wrote detailed advice for each section. Following is the extract from his advice for the orchestra section. This year, a guitar orchestra from Taiwan participated in the section as the first orchestra from overseas.

'I would like to advise all players that "don't be gloomy". In the cases mentioned below, music is likely to be gloomy. 1) performance by the prime guitars only, 2) play music in pianissimo, 3) slow music, 4) orchestra consists of less than 35 players, and they haven't mastered basic skills, 5) performance by guitars that have poor reverberation, 6) bad breathing, 7) play with expressionless faces, 8) no guitarron or insufficient number of guitars, 9) music is constructed in the old style, 10) sad or melancholy music, and so on.

Even if music is minor, players should not play it gloomily. Players should play the minor music with rich sound and vibratos, and do natural and beautiful agogik. Of course, appropriate breathing is important. As the guitar is likely to be gloomy, players need to pay attention not to be gloomy . Gloomy sound will decrease audience. Expressionless performance is created by improper breathing and unclear conducting. This year, there were orchestras that played 2 minor pieces, but I feel it was not good. When you have your own concert, it is very important that the program contains minor music only 20%. Especially if your guitar orchestra consists of young members mainly, keep this advice always on your mind. The guitar orchestra from Taiwan that consisted of children mainly showed exquisite performance. Their breathing and the conducting were very good. I recommend everyone to watch their performance on video tape for your study.'

Then, he concluded his story like this.

'In this concours, in order to carry out the aim of the associations, we place great importance on "how they have been educated" to judge. In addition to their performances, the entrants are judged by how they were educated, and how they have been contributing to their society and the guitar field. Premeditated education is very important. The members of the judge have not changed so much for 28 years. They always encourage and reprimand entrants with big hearts. This is a very rare concours that has such nice judges and has been held with broad outlook. Let's back up this concours in unison and make this event worldwide together.'

Members of NKG or IGOA have privileges to take lessons of conducting or orchestra (video lesson is available) and to have scores of Niibori Guitar Orchestra. It is highly recommend of you to be a member if you are interested in a guitar orchestra.

The first general meeting of these associations in 1998 will take place in the headquarters of Niibori group located in Yokohama. Please feel free to attend it as a visitor. You will be welcomed by members.


candle_bgroup.jpg Our Christmas charity concert tour will be held in various places in Japan as usual. The program is constructed with very enjoyable music so that anyone who listen to the guitar orchestra music first time can enjoy the concert. Main concerts by a full-orchestra conducted by Dr. Niibori will take place in Tokyo and Kamakura. The program consists of world famous music such as 'Tales of the Vienna Forest Waltz', 'Ave Maria', 'Silent Night' and so on. 'Ave Maria' will be played by a chorus and a guitar orchestra. In 'Silent Night', guitar-shaped lanterns will join the guitar orchestra and feast audience's ears and eyes both. If you have any questions or need tickets, please feel free to ask Niibori Guitar Music Academy.

Casals Hall (Ochanomizu, Tokyo) .
December 21, Start 5:00 p.m
All reserved seats S \5,000 A \4,000
Kamakura Geijutsukan (Ofuna, Kamakura)
December 25, Start 7:00 p.m.
Reserved seats \4,500
Non-reserved seats \3,500
Non-reserved seats for students \2,500

For questions, advice & requests about Monthly Harmony,

Niibori Guitar Music Academy, Editorial Office

143-14 Fujisawa, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken,
251-0052 Japan
Phone: +81-466-23-8338 / Fax: +81-466-23-9337

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