Nayu Niibori
N-Academy Spring Concert took place at 'Curian, large hall' in Tokyo (Capacity 1000) with a full audience on February 11, 1998.

N-Academy is a generic name for US Foundation International Niibori Guitar Music Academy (Yokohama campus), Educational Foundation Nihon Guitar Music Conservatory (Izu campus) and Educational Foundation Niibori Guitar Music Academy (Joetsu campus). It is the only guitar academy in Japan that has a high school course and a college course. Dr. Hiroki Niibori serves as a principal of each academy.

Students who played in this honorable concert were all winners of the keen preliminary screenings. The criteria for selection were not only a play technique, but the originality, the entertaining talent and so on.

Same as every year, Niibori Method and the original guitars were made full use in the concert. The program was rich in variety. Solo, duet, ensemble, orchestra, and performance with other musical instruments amused the audience very much.

Recently, students who compose or arrange music have been increasing. Especially, students seem to enjoy composing music using NRM. NRM stands for Niibori Rhythm Method and it uses the guitar as a percussion. This year, NRM 'Jungle Island' composed by students in the second year of the high school course, and NRM 'Mountain of Fire' composed by students in the forth year of the college course, attracted considerable attention. In NRM 'Mountain of Fire', in addition to the original guitars, some percussions such as the bongos and the chappa (small copper cymbals used for the Asian folk music) were used to add the Asian taste.

Let's talk about the solo performance first. 'Prelude' (M.Ponce), 'Rumores de la caleta' (I.Albeniz), 'Waltz op.8-4' (A.Barrios), 'Fuoco' from Libra sonatine (R.Dyens), 'Etude No.11' (H.Villa=Lobos) were played by the prime guitar and well received by the audience. 'Andantino op.32-1' (F.Sor) was played very brilliantly by the alto guitar. The original guitars that are tuned higher than the prime guitar such like the alto guitar and the soprano guitar, can create pretty and light sound, and well suit for short compositions in the pre-classical period and in the classical period. 'Prelude' from Suite No.1 for Cello and 'Prelude' from Suite No.5 for Cello (J.S.Bach) were played by the bass guitar turned 4th lower than the prime guitar. The bass guitar has long reverberation and suits for music composed for other musical instruments for the low register like the cello. The alto guitar is 1 octave higher than the bass guitar, and they harmonize with each other very well. In case they play a music for a prime guitar ensemble, the range becomes wider and the sound of each part becomes clearer. An ensemble by the alto guitar and the bass guitar has the different attraction from a prime guitar ensemble.

The most interesting point of ensemble music is the combination of various guitars. 'Sonata in A-major L.483' (D.Scarlatti) was played by the pear-shaped double strings alto cembalo guitar and the bass guitar, and 'Spanish dance No.1' from La Vida Brave (M.Falla) was played by 2 prime guitars and the guitarron. 'Spanish dance No.1' is a very popular number, but by adding the guitarron, the bass register was supported strongly and it became more rhythmical. 'Sonata L.23' (D.Scarlatti) was played by 2 alto guitars. As the alto guitar has very clear sound and easy to play fast passages, it's suitable to play arpeggio and scales clearly or play pretty music.

The most popular number in the concert was 'Jongo' (P.Bellinati) by a men's sextet. The composer, Bellinati is an popular guitarist and composer in Brazil. The sextet consisted of the soprano guitar, the prime guitars (2 parts), the double strings prime cembalo guitar, the bass guitar and the guitarron. It was originally composed for the prime guitar solo, but this unique combination made this number very passionate and held the audience spellbound. 6 men's hot action in perfect order and 'Knock the body' (beat the guitar like a drum) fully drew out the number's attraction. We heard that Bellinati also uses a variety of guitars and composes colorful music a lot, so he may love to their unique arrangement.

In the latter half of the concert, lots of guitar orchestras appeared on the stage one after another. Performance by chorus and a guitar ensemble, concertos for the bass guitars, a concerto for the cembalo guitar, music composed by Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart and so on, and music arranged by students, a concerto based on Japanese folk songs, and original number by students, feasted the audience's ears very much. Especially, 'Hungarian rhapsody No.2' (F.List) played by the large-scaled guitar orchestra consisted of the students of Yokohama campus, was the highlight of the concert. The last number was 'Japon siempre Japon' composed by M. Sonlucar who is a famous guitarist in Spain. He composed this number specially for Niibori Guitar Orchestra when he came to Japan years ago. Everyone played in this concert played it together as one guitar orchestra. The lyric performance moved the audience so much, and the concert was ended with a storm of applause.

The concert for 3 hours showed various attraction of the guitar, and both the audience and the players fully enjoyed this wonderful moment.

Niibori Guitar Music Academy welcomes students from abroad. It is the best music academy to study a guitar orchestra music. On the other hand, there are graduates who went to Germany and Holland to study the guitar more. Some of the graduates of N-academy, Yoshimasa Yoshida is a guitarist and a professor of a music school in Europe, and Toru Sakurada is a famous lutist in Germany now. They are introduced in 'Zoom up' page in this issue. It is honorable to see the graduates are active as a musician in the world.

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