From Japan to Novi Sad, violinist Kana Matsui and flutist Mutsumi Ito, the two Japanese artists and members of numerous orchestras and ensembles, who won many awards at national competitions, international performances, made it to the future European Capital of Culture within the current Project 22, presented by the ‘Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture’ and NEO Festival – non-classical festival of classical music.
The performance of these two musicians who left their home country for the sake of art, presents the Migrations programme arch, since the Project 22 is envisaged as a kind of overture to the European Capital of Culture 2022 and symbolically presents eight programme arches. The programme arch, planned for 1 February until 14 March, will focus on the population movement as a source of cultural, artists and creative expression and an overview on positive consequences of migrations.
Their concert is scheduled for Sunday, 20 June, beginning at 7 p.m., in the Gallery of Matica Srpska, where Kana and Mutsumi will perform together with three renowned artists – György Ács (viola), Shinnosuke Inugai (piano) and Irena Josifoska (violoncello), who also drifted from their home countries to the world.
You are participating in the Project 22 that presents the concept of the programme of the European Capital of Culture – Novi Sad in 2022. How do you like the idea of making an overture to the title year by connecting local and performers from all around the world through music, at several locations across the city?
Kana: It is fantastic since we should perceive music that way – as a link between everything and everyone, because we all carry music within us. I believe that discovering different cultures, mentality and language is something very exciting, especially for musicians. For example, language is deeply connected with music. Every time when I have an opportunity to meet new culture, I fell it as a life experience that upgrades my musical knowledge and enriches the meaning of my work.
Mutsumi: It is a great pleasure to participate in the Project 22. I hope our performance brings positive energy and a positive experience after the coronavirus pandemic.
You have arrived early in Novi Sad. I guess you have spent most of your time rehearsing. Did you have the time to get to know the city a bit? What is your impression about Novi Sad?
Kana: My first impression about Novi Sad is that it is a very picturesque city. A lot of great energy and beauty at every corner. The connection between the heritage of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy that is still present and a unique Balkan culture.
Mutsumi: I walked around the city and It felt really good. I like Novi Sad very much. There are so many beautiful buildings, churches… I have never seen that the church roof of a church can be such colourful and picturesque.
You are a musician who left her homeland and started travelling the world, what are the benefits of such a situation, and what sacrifices did you have to make?
Kana: In my opinion, the benefit is everything that happens in my life. The sacrifice I have got to make is separation from my parents who live in Japan and whom I miss so much.
Mutsumi: I think that living in Europe is precious, since I have an opportunity to perform there and spread my knowledge. Japan is my homeland and of course I love my country. However, while being there, I feel no connection with classical music and my profession as I do in Europe. Of course, I miss my family, friend and Japanese food.
Your performance within the Project 22 is going to be a unique synergy in every sense. You are performing with musicians from across the world, you speak different languages, yet, the thing that connects you with the world is music, a language everyone speaks. How much do you cherish that?
Kana: It is very precious. Honestly, I feel limited when I have to express myself using words and language. Therefore, I think it is a way more natural to connect with people through music.
Mutsumi: This is a new experience for me and inspires me in a different way.
You are going to participate in a masterclass within which you will share your knowledge with young local artists. What important experiences and advice would you like to give them?
Kana: It depends on students. I am always happy when I can help them with problems or give them a hand. The most important is to feel free and comfortable with their instrument in order to concentrate on making music as best as possible. I usually give them advice when it comes to skills that will help them improve their musical expression, as well as theoretical knowledge.
Mutsumi: I would advise students to gain as much experience as possible and become ‘immune’ in that way.
Their concert in the Gallery of Matica Srpska has been implemented with the support of the EU-Japan Fest.