As the first cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom in New York, the musicians of the Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo are preparing for their first visit to the U.S. to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of the cherry blossom trees to the United States. As part of this tour, the Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo, one of Japan’s foremost chamber orchestras, will make its New York debut on Wednesday, May 2 at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

Founded in 1995 as the resident chamber orchestra of Kioi Hall, the Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo is a fairly new orchestra comprised of 45 soloists, chamber artists and principal players from orchestras throughout Japan.  Renowned Swiss conductor Thierry Fischer, currently Music Director of the Utah Symphony Orchestra and recent recipient of the 2012 International Classical Music Award in the opera category, will lead the ensemble for the first time, performing popular works by Mozart and Beethoven including Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 with pianist Yu Kosuge and Beethoven’s legendary “Eroica” Symphony.  “It is the first collaboration between the orchestra and Yu” says Mr. Yutaka Hanazawa, Chief Manager of the Nippon Steel Arts Foundation, the presenters of the Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo’s U.S. tour, “but there is no doubt that her excellent piano solo will blend with the beautiful sounds of our orchestra.”  Yu Kosuge was awarded the Fresh Artist of Nippon Steel Music Award in 2002 and has since performed many recitals at the Sinfonietta’s home, Kioi Hall in Tokyo.

The Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo began preparing for their U.S. debut tour following an invitation from the National Gallery of Art to perform in their 2012 Cherry Blossom Music Festival.  The cherry trees, gifted to the United States from Japan in 1912, serve as a symbol of the lasting friendship between the two countries.  It is Mr. Hanazawa’s hope that “the music performed by the Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo will resound and bloom brilliantly in the United States like the beautiful cherry blossoms as an additional symbol of our friendship.”  In addition to their concert at Alice Tully Hall, the Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo will perform at Verizon Hall in Philadelphia on April 27, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. on April 29 as part of the 2012 National Cherry Blossom Festival, and Sanders Theatre at Harvard University in Cambridge on May 1.

While we celebrate this significant anniversary of the cherry blossom trees it is important to reflect upon another recent anniversary.  It has been just over a year since the tragic Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami impacted millions of lives throughout Japan and the world.  To honor this occasion the Nippon Steel Arts Foundation will donate all ticket proceeds from their New York performance to support music activities in the areas damaged by the earthquake.

“After the Tohoku Earthquake in 2011, we had great support from everywhere in the world and, in major part, from the United States.” Mr. Hanazawa said, “We would like to express our sincere appreciation for that through our performance.”

The concert will be held on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 7:30.  Tickets, priced at $35 and $20, are available at the Alice Tully Hall box office, by calling CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500 and online at www.lincolncenter.org