Profile: Violinist, Kaoru Kondo graduated from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music with Acanthus Prize, and received Master's degree.
He performed with various orchestra as a concertmaster as he was still in the school, while he also participated in the summer camp in Vienna to receive master class lessons from Alban Berg Quartet, Amadeus Quartet, Hagen Quartet in order to acquire the higher level of skills and methods for chamber music.
In recent years, he works in various field and activities, as he served the concertmaster in Tokyo Scholars Ensemble, music advisor of "the world of Toru Takemitsu". He also plays wide range of music pieces from Baroque music to Contemporary music.
He also works in the field of music education of the next generation musicians, as he participates in Lanciano music Festival in Italy by the invitation of the chief cellist of L'Orchestra dell'Accademia nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Luigi Piovano.
From 2004 to 2010, He served as the 1st violin Vorspieler of Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. From June 2011 to Mach 2014, he was the concertmaster of The Kyushu Symphony Orchestra. Since April 2015, he is the acting concertmaster of Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Q1. Compared to Japan, an aging society with less youth, many of Asian countries have large ratio of young generation. This is one of the reason that Asia is rapidly developing in both cultural and economic ways. What do you think of “youth” and its meaning, within the classical music community which has been developed on tradition and established as a valuable cultural element in Western societies?
Kondo: Classical music, with its long history of development, has always been changed and transformed by absorbing various cultural elements such as poetry, or philosophy. Literary classical music is the essential element of Western culture. In that sense, it has more in depth, complex structure and configuration compared to other type of music.
Therefore it would require to take more time for listening to it. Today’s young generations do not have enough time to listen into the classical music by discovering the sound sympathizing with his/her own spirit.
However, the great thing of the music is that it has the power to gradually yet steadily influence the mind of people, even when people do not fully understand it. As the youth of Asia become the major power to lead the development of the world into the future,
discovering something from classical music, which has been developed in another cultural domain of Western world, could be a great help to join the world and come close together in peace through mutual communication and understanding.
Q2. Classical music requires to read and reproduce the sound based on the score left by composers. To understand and “express as his/her own “music performance, do you think “age” or “generation” would affect the process?
Kondo: Of course it would have some effect.
Score, in my understanding, is something like a written note/ letter from composers. If someone read it, the mind of the reader will be psychologically influenced by translating the “notes” as symbols of expression. I believe it is natural that music performance depends on the age—in other words, age produces distinct performance of that age.
Q3. If “youth” can affect and make difference in reading or performance of music, what kind of difference does that make? You also are the part of “young generation” in classical music community—what kind of difference do you find yourself by comparing to the former generation?
Kondo: I believe it is inevitable that there is a difference in the way of thinking between those people lived in the past, and the people living at this very moment. Past generations had produced great musicians, although it is meaningless to copy them.
In that sense, we young generation musicians have a larger role and duty to make the classical music more universal and common as a language in the world.
Q4. As a Japanese, do you find any difference between yourself and those Western musicians, since classical music has been developed in the Western world? If you find any, what kind of difference is that?
Kondo: The biggest point is that classical music/ culture has been developed upon Christianity. Then, the difference of language—its sound and rhythm. Difference of food would affect the way of thinking—Japanese eats more fish rather than meat compared to the Western people. That could make big difference.
Q5. For establishing classical music community in Asia, what would be the important element to be required? Mr. Kondo hosts ‘Patio Music Camp’ in your local community, so you may discuss together with its theme and operation.
Kondo: In my opinion, it is necessary to provide as many opportunities as possible to be in touch with classical music. Also it is important that finding classical music by his/ her own self as a music, rather than a knowledge or status.
Patio Music Camp has various programs in different levels, not only for those who are seeking for becoming professional musicians, but also for those who just started learning classical music—from a very small age to the college student level. Learning violin takes time and energy, while those who take the Camp courses are encouraged and stimulated by meeting and learning together—and come back again next year to overcome higher obstacles.
They are not competing each other, but codeveloping to improve their mind and skills in this environment.
Q6. What is the thing that you want to convey to the young generation through ‘Patio Music Camp’?
Kondo: Essentially the process of learning music means to discover the inner world of him/herself by reading and understanding scores of composers, and expressing it to the outer world through music.
Of course it requires technical skills, but I hope they fin the importance of developing his/ her own inner world with joy—and continue doing it in their future.