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graz
classical art

7 - Graz x Osaka

During the renovations of the Eggenberg Palace in Graz, Austria, a sensational find was uncovered. What were thought to be paper wall hangings in the palace’s beautifully ornate Japanese Room were, in fact, panels from an incredibly rare Japanese folding screen. The Osaka-zu byobu found its way to the Austrian palace in the 17th century, and depicts the golden era of Osaka’s opulent palace complex, including scenes from everyday life in the Japanese city.

Inspired by this find, and the previously unknown connection between the two cities in Austria and Japan, the AVL Cultural Foundation gave it’s support to a new cultural exchange between the two countries. Two young composers, Christof Ressi (Austria) and Yuki Sugimoto (Japan) were asked to create new compositions for two traditional instruments – the dulcimer and the shamisen inspired by the Osaka-zu byobu.

With support from soloists Hemma Pleschberger on the dulcimer and Seiyu Tsurusawa on the shamisen, and backed up by 24 string musicians chosen from a variety of exceptional European orchestras, conductor Jon Svinghammar led performances in Graz and Osaka. Audiences were delighted as the two instruments, which rarely play such a lead role in the orchestra, took centre stage in the performances of the outstanding new classical masterpieces.

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