Possible alternative music to emerge at mid-summer Suntory Hall: Cosmology of gamelan weaving “the world’s most beautiful sound”

At en-gawa (= terrace built at the edge of the house) in mid-summer. En-gawa is situated in a unique space, neither inside nor outside of the building. Among the frequent questions which are asked by the Westerners with respect to gardens in Kyoto, “Is en-gawa situated inside or outside of the building?” is an impressive one to me.

In the ’80s, there were multiple possibilities and alternatives for information technology that emerged before us, human beings. To express their potential, the “conceivably” dream-like world was illustrated, and also the dystopia at the same time. After several decades have passed, finally we are making a choice and relinquishing other possible alternatives.

Suntory Hall: designed “in pursuit of the world’s most beautiful sound”.

Midsummer Feast – the festival of Western Music in midsummer – is held in European countries at high latitudes. And especially in northern European countries where the sun never goes down in this season, traditionally, events with non-stop music throughout the night, have been held. These annual traditional events were gradually developed in the context of jazz and rock music in Britain and from the ’60s to ’70s evolved and established as gigantic outdoor music festivals in parallel with the revolution in youth culture. Many music festivals in Japan held during the Summer vacation season too emerged originally from this same context.

Suntory Hall Summer Festival is the annual festival of contemporary music that has been held since the opening of Suntory Hall in the ’80s by Suntory Foundation for the Arts, and has been presented by Suntory Hall since 2018.

The festival was launched with the theme of a music competition for kids and “the music of the 20th century” in the ’80s and since the ’90s composers who overthrew the foundation of music such as Schoenberg, Ligeti, Xenakis, Prokofiev, John Cage, together with composers from Japan and China in early times, have been introduced as theme composer. That tells the concept of the festival well enough. This time, the festival has 3 major programs; “The Producer Series”; “Theme Composer”; “Competition of Yasushi Akutagawa Suntory Award for Music Competition”.

Suntory Hall’s main hall was designed “In pursuit of the world’s most beautiful sound” in “vineyard style”. The vineyard style was first adopted for the hall of the Berliner Philharmoiker and was conceived by the architect Hans Scharoun, in accordance with the ideas of the revival of the culture of German cities devastated by the bombing in Berlin.

Suntory Whisky has an original brand called “Hibiki”, means acoustics or resonance in Japanese, which has a double meaning that is the harmony of blending multiple aromas and tastes for one and harmonizing nature and humans for another. In this wise, there seem to be deeper visions in Suntory’s company culture regarding the term of “Hibiki”.