The Music Festival created by Martha Argerich has valued "meeting" as symbolized in its official name. For me, encountering Martha in Europe was a miracle, which brought me to the thinking that every encounter in the whole wide world is a miracle.
My parents who had no connection with Beppu moved here. Then Beppu Mayor the late Mr. Taro Nakamura asked me to request Martha for her assistance to create a music festival in Beppu. Looking back, I wonder how dare we started this wild attempt.
As I had never imagined various difficulties that followed one after another, I accepted the request. In the course of realizing the Music Festival, Mr. Seishiro Eto, a Lower House member, introduced the late Mr. Masakazu Shiiki, with whom we have kept close relationships to date. We are grateful to Mr. Shiiki for his deep understanding of and trust to our activities. He kindly gave us "Shiiki presents Argerich's Haus" to praise Martha Argerich and her achievements.
It is really unbelievable that a miracle happened twice in a lifetime. God sees that we worked hard under various difficulties in this region. We are truly grateful and happy.
Mr. Shiiki always gives us warm considerations. I can vividly recall that he spoke to me words of appreciation for our activities when I went to see him to ask for donations. Even of it was raining, he saw me off coming down to the entrance of his company until my car disappeared.
I learned a great deal from his modest personality. After all, trust is built up based on respect and appreciation.
It is no exaggeration to say that Mr. Shiiki has complemented what public administration could not do. He gave full support to Pinocchio Concerts, one of our major educational programs. He told his thought that this kind of concerts really helps children in the process of their growth and it is important for them to cultivate their sensibility through art. He encouraged us to keep working with this project.
As Mr. Shiiki was a genius entrepreneur, he supported us with deep insights into the essence of things. I think his support came from the perspective of not only the time when we ourselves live but also what we can hand over to the generations to come. This is also the fundamental point that Martha and we really value. The Pinocchio Concert project is an activity that we continue based on our belief that academic achievements are important, but ultimately more important is human qualities.
The only-one-in-the-world Argerich's Haus that was presented by Mr. Shiiki and whose site was offered by Oita Prefecture Governor Mr. Katsusada Hirose has only-one-in-the-world piano for Martha. Martha likes the piano very much, saying with enthusiasm that there is no other piano that produces such beautiful sounds. We have chosen everything in the Haus very carefully, and Martha liked them very much. She says that she would like to promote activities meaningful for the future.
Making use of the wonderful acoustics of the Haus, we are going to promote a salon culture, and provide from here opportunities for people to come to know art more deeply through music.
We would like to offer people opportunities to learn with their own ears and eyes from a long term perspective, not affected by trends. We also plan to provide lectures by knowledgeable experts to guide children, as well as parents, for their future career choices.
Another important role of the Haus is education. Lessons by musicians will be held in the Haus.
At the Haus, we will expand and deepen the objectives and content of Pinocchio Concerts to promote the development of children to be good human beings, as well as fostering young musicians.
Of course, in order to breathe Martha's soul into the Haus, we would like to ask her to perform at the salon as much as possible.
Through these activities the Haus will live one and two hundred years ahead together with Martha Argerich.
We should contemplate whether the society we will hand over to children should stay the way it is. We are enjoying material affluence, but haven't we left spiritual richness behind? This thinking has been growing in me year by year. As Martha says, by respecting and listening to each other, beautiful harmony will be produced, the way musicians create sounds and music. We must communicate this thinking through music, and we would like to promote this concrete action.
Oita Prefecture has gained popularity as a hot spring (onsen) resort. The Japanese Government also promotes regional revitalization as one of its national policies.
The way Martha has promoted is the way of regional revitalization. The high quality of the Music Festival realized by Martha's creativity, not an imitation, is now exported as a unique idea from a once music-import country Japan to Europe where classical music was originated.
Progetto Martha Argerich at Lugano Festival, Switzerland, is based on the Beppu Argerich Music Festival. We can say it is a bridge of music that Martha built. I am proud of this as an Asian who works in the music sphere. I also think that the fact we were able to build a base for Martha's musical activities is a very significant incident in the history of art in Japan.
The eastern Kyushu district has a wonderful feature that there are music festivals all around the region, such as Kitakyushu, Oita & Beppu, Miyazaki and Kirishima. The area is culturally advanced. It may not be a mere dream that we change the shape of the country where everything is concentrated in Tokyo through the means of culture and art.
We would like to share happy time together with you, and build a bridge to the future with Martha Argerich, never giving up our dream.