Nov 8, 2012
This week constituted a profoundly human experience, bringing together as it did musicians of different nationalities in a very particular context.
The encounter with these Japanese students was, for me, absolutely remarkable. In their way of listening, I felt and appreciated a profound respect both for us and for each other. Each musician was absolutely present, ready to give his very best and to work with determination. I was also struck by their remarkable and unusual sense of discipline. In France, we are used to orchestral rehearsals during which it is not infrequent to hear whisperings while the conductor speaks. Here, there was a wonderful silence and a capacity to respond immediately.
I loved the sincerity, the passion, the smiles, and the energy each of these young people brought to the project—despite the incredibly difficult context in which they have found themselves since March 2011. This week gave me valuable new perspectives on what now appear to be our “small problems” in France and our permanent state of dissatisfaction. It also warmed my heart to see young people who respect one another so deeply!
I really enjoyed playing with all these musicians in the orchestra, and especially being able to work together on “sound painting.”1 A beautiful exchange…
It’s hard to describe the depth of the impression of being “re-oxygenated” from within—simply by sitting next to a person, without necessarily speaking, but just feeling how he is living and breathing fully this present moment!
1 In between orchestral rehearsals, “sound painting” workshops were held that called on musicians to improvise on the spot in response to sign language instructions from the conductor. This is a technique used in contemporary music that gives performers greater freedom of emotional expression and stimulates their imagination. Exposure to such experimental techniques was probably one of the highlights of the Michinoku project. A total of approximately 40 curious middle and high school students participated in two fun-filled and engaging workshops.