Ben on Tour

Japan 2002 Tour Review

Sunday, July 14, 2002

The Tour started with a warm welcome by Mr. Kaihatsu Tatsuya and Ms. Watanabe who were waiting at Nagoya airport, Kansai International Airport.

The start of a wonderful trip!
They took us to Kyoto where we stayed in a beautiful Japanese style Hotel. In the Hotel there were 2 more Japanese hosts waiting for us, Mr. Masami Fujimoto and Mr. Izuta Kazuwa, all members of the Kyoto Fine Arts Brass.
The first 2 days in Japan were free days and we spent them in Kyoto, the oldest city of Japan with many beautiful temples and other historical interesting treasures.

A nice soba lunch Mark and Ben together with Fujimoto-san and Izuta-san.

Ms. Watanabe and Tatsuya-san and the Thein bross enjoy their soba lunch.

After a fine Japanese Soba style lunch, a short nap was needed and then we made our first evening sightseeing trip through Kyoto, with Tatsuya-san, Fujimoto-san, Izuta-san and Mr. Yoshitoma Watanabe.
The hotel was located next to the Yasaka shrine and we could directly smell the old Japanese culture.

Group picture in the Yasaka shrine.
A nice walk through the old centre of Kyoto took us to a wonderful restaurant with a beautiful lighted garden where a delicious diner was presented to us, one of the many to come.
Day 2 in Kyoto we were hosted by Tatsuya-san and Watanabe-san and together we made visits to Kurama Temple in the hills surrounding Kyoto,

Max & Ben clean them selves for the visit to the Temple.
a magical bamboo forest

The whole group in the bamboo forest.
and the Myoshini Temple with its beautiful gardens and temples.

Max preparing for a meditation session during his Myoshini temple visit.

Ben relaxes in the beautiful garden in the Myoshini shrine.
Max & Heinrich, Mark and Ben were all taken by surprise with the warm hearted welcome and the wonderful things we saw in Kyoto. What a super start of our adventure in Japan.
We ended our Kyoto visit with a wonderful diner in our Hotel room served by the charming Heromi-san.

The charming Heromi served us one of the most wonderful meals of the entire trip.
Mark and Heinrich enjoy the beer and Japanese food.

Max and Ben with Heromi show the atmosphere during the diner.
Day 3, was the start of the work part of the Japan trip
Ben had to give 4 masterclasses and mini-concerts and one big recital.
Max and Heinrich had their instruments available for the students and professionals who attended the events.

Many Japanese trombonists tried out the different
trombones the Thein brothers brought with them on this trip,
from alto- to contrabass trombones, all were tested very seriously
and gained many positive reactions.

Even during the afterconcert parties
the contrabass trombone had to be tested.

Ben started his classes with a half hour lecture about breathing excercises and warm-up routines, after that 3 students with whom Ben worked for half an hour each.
The students were very well prepared and eager to learn as much as possible in the given time.
After a short pause Ben gave mini-concerts with the following program:
Adagio - Albinoni
Aria Ivan Susanin - Glinka
Concert - Lebedev
The Chief - Stevens
As encore Ben played a solo improvisation on the Nana theme from his solo CD.
For the piano pieces Ben had 3 different pianists. He worked with the lovely and musically very interesting Ms. Hitomi Takara.

The beautiful Hitomi Takara and Ben give us a big smile.
The Chief was played with students from the different Universities who were all very well prepared and Ben didn’t need a conductor for almost all concerts
Everything had to be rehearsed on the day of the class which made the day pretty full and tiring but the interest of both students and professionals gave Ben enough power to perform at his best.
The first class and mini-concert was at the Music college of Nagoya hosted by Prof. Hoshi.

Ben's first masterclass in Nagoya.
Working with a student on Bozza'a New Orleans.

With the Nagoya trombone class
Ben played John Stevens "the Chief".
The next day we were at the Musashino Academica Musicae in Tokyo where we were welcomed by Jumpei Inoue who was responsible for my trip to Japan.

Again Hitomi-san accompanied Ben in his
solo performances at the Musashino Academica Musicae.

Jumpei's trombone class was very well prepared
and this gave the rehearsal a really good time.

After this Tokyo masterclass and mini-concert the students of the school treated us on a wonderful diner with many delicious Japanese snacks and beer.
The next day gave Ben a morning rehearsal with the Musica Mundana trombone ensemble with whom he had an evening concert.
His part in the concert was the program of the mini-concerts and a new piece by Ilja Reijngoud "a Beautiful Day" which received it’s world premiere during the concert.
As encore Ben played "Blue Topaz" by Tommy Pederson, a Japanese folk tune with trombone ensemble and his improvisation on "Nana".
The beautiful chamber music hall of the Bunka Kalkan was almost sold out and the concert was very well received.
After the concert many Nana cd’s were sold and in a special session Ben had to sign many cd’s.

Jumpei Inoue conducts "a Beautiful Day" by Ilja Reingoud.

Taniguchi Hiroshi enjoys Ben's rehearsal
with the Mundana Musica trombone ensemble.

Hitomi Takara and Ben in Lebedev's concerto for basstrombone.

Ben in full action.

The audience liked the performances very much.

The ensemble organized a wonderful party for all of us
where Ben had the pleasure to meet Mr. Sato,
tubaist of the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra.

Heinrich Thein in conversation with the Tokyo Metropolitan Bass trombonist,
Jumpei Inoue who is the proud owner of
a Thein bass- and contrabass trombone.

Day 4 of my working part gave a masterclass and mini-concert at the Nero shop. A more intimae atmosphere made this session the easiest for me during the tour and gave me some air again.

Ben in action at the Nero shop
in a masterclass and a miniconcert.

Masanori Sakumichi, the boss of the Nero shop, organized a nice after concert meal and we had a great time there.

The Theins, Ben and the Nero family in a nice portrait.
With the Shinkansen train we traveled to Osaka where Ben gave his class again, now at the Osaka Music College (at Shonai Campus), and the Thein bros gave a masterclass in instrument building and repairing at Kuwazima.

The Thein brothers with all the masterclass participants.

Again, the atmosphere during this event was very relaxed and open.
The after concert diner was hosted Mr. Nakamura and players of the Osaka Symphonic Orchestra together with Prof. Shin-Ichi Go.

Professor Shin-Ichi Go and his Thein alto trombone.
Professor Go is a Thein player for more the 10 years now.

Professor Go and Ben enjoy the afterconcert party.

Also Max and Heinrich had the time of there life.

The last working day was filled with teaching session in Nagoya and in Tokyo and directly after that a nice interview for the Wind instrument magazine of Japan "Pipers" in which our friend Taniguchi Hirochi did a great job as translator.


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Bass trombonist of the Rotterdam Conservatory "Codarts" Ben is professor at the Rotterdam Conservatory "Codarts. He plays exclusively "Thein" tenor-bass and contrabass trombones.
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