2nd December 2020
The first encounter with Maestro Jörg Demus was by chance about 20 years ago.
Our chorus group sang ‘Requiem’ by Giuseppe Verdi to commemorate the centennial of his death in 2001. This was the first performance in Okinawa under the direction of Conductor S. Tsutsumi. The following year he took Maestro Demus to Okinawa for the first performance of ‘Choral Fantasy’ composed by Beethoven. Mr. Tsutsumi conducted the Metropolitan Orchestra and the pianist was Maestro Demus. ‘Choral Fantasy′ is said to be the original of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and it is, of course, very hard to perform. Maestro’s outstanding piano must have drawn out our talents, and aided us to give a polished performance.
Maestro seemed to like Okinawa, our chorus group, and Izumi Hospital, so he paid a visit every year after the concert. While he stayed in Okinawa he played Bach, Schubert, and Beethoven for the patients of the psychiatric ward. He also gave lectures to us about the music of Vienna, and directed our chorus group, including my singing of Schubert songs. He loved the sea of Okinawa and always stayed at the hotel by the seashore.
Since I heard that Maestro Demus was in trouble after Mrs.Haruko Ikeda of ’Salone Cristofori’ had passed away, I have tried to continue the musical activity of the Salone with the support and advice of my friends. I then happened to be appointed as a professor of Tokyo University of Agriculture, so I am very happy to continue it as Salone Fontana, a research center of Izumi Hospital, to practice the art, garden and musical treatments.
The sounds of Maestro’s piano from his 90th birthday memorial concert at Kioi Hall in 2018 still remains in my ears. I wish I could nurture his superb music in Okinawa and all over Japan. Though it has been, and will continue to be, very difficult to run and to maintain, I would like to keep ‘Salone Fontana – Jörg Demus Memorial Hall ′in Tokyo where people can feel it as the treasure box of Maestro’s soul.
This hall was founded by Mrs. Haruko Ikeda as Salone Cristofori, and I am most grateful to her, as well as all the people who have supported it, in order to build the foundation of Maestro’s music. Maestro Demus and his music is still alive in our hearts.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Maestro Demus and all the people I have met through our love of music.