A classical string quartet performing at a Japanese Buddhist Temple? The encounter was made possible on April 8th in Tokyo, under the auspices of the Shinagawa – Geneva friendship ties. Four musicians of the Geneva-based Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (OSR) performed Schubert and Puccini at Honsenji, a temple in Shinagawa which bears a special significance for the bilateral relations: Geneva and Shinagawa are linked by a friendship agreement, and a copy of the Honsenji bell was offered by Shinagawa to Geneva in 1991 as gesture of gratitude after Switzerland agreed to return the original one in 1930.
The concert by the four OSR musicians marked the second station of the Grand Tour of Switzerland in Japan. Consisting of a digital map and a series of related events, The Grand Tour sheds light on the many locations in Japan with a strong link to Switzerland. The map is accessible from the website "Grand Tour of Switzerland in Japan” and the Grand Tour is part of the Embassy’s communication campaign on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, “Doors to Switzerland”.
The concert at Honsenji was followed by a reception during which Reverend Nakada, Mayor Hamano of Shinagawa, a director of external and institutional relations of JTI, Mr. Fabrice Eggly and Ambassador Paroz addressed the audience.
The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande completed a successful tour in Japan with concerts in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka with Music Director Jonathan Nott and soloists Jean-Frédérique Neuburger (piano) and Ayana Tsuji (violin). On April 9th, following a triumphal concert at Suntory Hall marked by the graceful attendance of her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado, representatives of the Orchestra, members the Japan Switzerland Economic Council, representatives of JT and JT as well as representatives of the Embassy gathered at ANA Intercontinental Hotel for a reception under the patronage of Ambassador Paroz, in presence of her Imperial Highness.