Music News

The Japanese premiere of Artur Lemba's symphony

On Sunday, October 2, Artur Lemba's Symphony No. 1 will be played in the Kyoto Concert Hall. The work will be performed for the first time in Japan by the Nagomi Symphony Orchestra conducted by Masaki Imura. In addition to Lemba's work, Alexander Borodin's music will also be performed: Symphony No. 2 and "Polovtsian Dances" from the opera "Prince Igor". The ambassador and honorary consul of the Republic of Estonia have also agreed to attend the concert.

When in 2021 the Estonian Music Information Center published the thoroughly edited Artur Lemba Symphony No. 1 in C sharp minor, Op. 5, it was noticed by a great admirer of Lemba’s music, Kazuki Tsutsui, the cellist of the Nagomi Orchestra, who is the initator of the performance on Sunday.

Minister-Counsellor of the Estonian Embassy in Tokyo Argo Kangro and orchestra member
Kazuki Tsutsui with the poster of the upcoming concert and the score of Artur Lemba's symphony.

Photo: Nagomi Symphony Orchestra

Artur Lemba composed his Symphony No. 1 in C sharp minor, Op. 5 as one of his graduation works from the St. Petersburg Conservatory and it bears the dedication "To my dear teacher and friend Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov". In 1909, it was also premiered at the conservatory with Glazunov as a conductor. In Estonia, the composition was premiered under the baton of the author himself on September 7, 1913 – at the opening ceremony of the "Estonia" theatre, alongside Rudolf Tobias’s and Artur Kapp’s works.

Artur Lemba (1885–1963) belonged to the first generation of professional Estonian musicians who received their higher education at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. After his studies he taught piano at the St. Petersburg Conservatory from 1908–1920 (as a professor since 1915). In 1920–1921, he taught piano at the Tallinn Higher Music School, in 1921–1922 at the Helsinki Music School and in 1923–1963 at the Tallinn Conservatory. In addition to his life-long work as a pianist and piano pedagogue, Lemba was one of the most remarkable Estonian composers of his time. He composed 5 piano concertos, 4 operas, 2 symphonies, chamber music and solo and choral songs. His opera Sabina (1905) and Symphony No. 1 (1908) were the first works in that genre in Estonian music history.

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Nagomi Symphony Orchestra