It was a dream opportunity for me to participate in REMIX22 held in Esch, Luxembourg, because for me it’s the first trip to Europe, and I was thinking of also participating in a competition in Germany. I was about to give up when I initially heard the age limit was under 24 years old. But I checked it to the organiser and found out that the age limit was just a rough criterion, so I was accepted as a participant in the end. It was a month for my first stay in Europe by participating in the competition in Germany, and the music festival in Luxembourg.
In Japan, a state of emergency has been continued due to the number of infected people increasing and decreasing with the COVID-19, and large-scale music events are still being restricted. But in Europe, I didn’t find any situation like in Japan. The music festival was held in a situation like we could say COVID-19 was completely over. REMIX 22 at the European Capital of Culture was held for the first time in two years, and it seemed that the young participants were looking forward to it very much.
As I have been learning classical music developed in the West, I had been very concerned about how my performance would be received by people who have music rooted in their lives. Because it’s inevitably critical for me to be aware of evaluation from others in order to work as a freelance musician in Japan. It’s because in most cases, getting good results in competitions and having other people evaluate the performances will lead to a job. From that point of view, I decided to participate in this festival because I thought that would be a good opportunity through my first stay in Europe to see if my music and performance techniques could be used or not in Europe.But such thoughts have faded since the music festival period began. While interacting with the participants of many groups, I felt that they have absolute confidence in their music. I felt very strongly that they don’t care about the evaluation of others, and that they want to present their music to the fullest extent.Many of the participants in the music festival were teenage students, and many of them were very young performers. I felt from their behaviour that they were playing the music without caring about others’ evaluations. I strongly felt that was the element missing from myself to play the music with the pure enjoyment and express its own music like them.
Since we were the only group from Asia, many people listened to our live performance, perhaps with its rarity. Many people congratulated us telling us how good we were after the performance. And a person who seemed to be the captain of another group’s parade also spoke to us and congratulated us. In the middle of the closing ceremony, when I was standing alone in order to have a meeting, some young people came and said “Your performance in the daytime was really good. We became fans of you” to me. I had been worrying about the evaluation itself because of thinking about the competition I participated in just before it. But the simple words I received from them were very memorable. And I was relieved to know that my music would be enjoyed by people in Europe.
On the last day of the music festival, we also interacted with members of an Austrian school that was almost the same formation as us. Their live performance was right after ours, and their performance was excellent. I felt each of their sounds had a very high quality. We listened to each other’s performances and talked about our impressions after the performances. The woman who played the trumpet talked to us until the departure time. She asked many questions about us, where we came from, where we studied and how we practised. I’ve wanted to ask her the exact same question. She showed her interest in our performance and she gave us the biggest admiration for our performance.
Through this stay and the participation in the music festival, I felt that living in an insular country without getting out of it makes my horizons narrow culturally. I had been thinking that the distance was irrelevant for obtaining something in today’s society where a lot of information can be obtained through the internet. But It was more than the other level to receive things through seeing in action.
Even if it’s a single scenery of a church or a city, it’s completely different from what we see in the photograph. I felt through seeing in action that there is a meaning that the building and the church continue to remain up to the present age. I myself, who is living in modern times, could see the same scenery which remained as it was how the great composers lived, and it was an experience that I could never have had if I stayed in Japan. It was an excellent experience for me as a person studying Western music.
I have been active as a tuba player after graduating from a music college, but I was very happy that I was able to have this experience when I am going to turn 30 soon. I felt strongly that I was the one who narrowed down the world, and that I was the one who also narrowed down my music. I felt that I was the only person in the world who could make music that made use of my experience, and I should cherish my own music more. Since I am also having many opportunities to teach junior and senior high school students, I would like to share my experiences with the younger generation and continue to help them expand their world.