The final rehearsal of the Waseda Symphony Orchestra Tokyo

More than 70 WIB members attended the final rehearsal of the Waseda Symphony Orchestra Tokyo at the Berlin Philharmonic on 3 March 2018. Founded in 1882, Waseda University is one of Japan's oldest and most prestigious universities. The university offers excellent courses and various studies and yet lacks a music faculty. Nevertheless, its symphony orchestra is one of the best student orchestra in the world. Among the renowned conductors, Karajan, Ozawa, Iwaki, Slatkin and Sinopoli were once up there on the podium.

Since the mid-70s, the student orchestra has maintained a close relationship to the Berliner Philharmonic which is actively nurtured by the former Philharmonic cellist, Rudolf Weinsheimer. The student orchestra has now performed for the 15th time in Germany, Austria and France.

The long-time conductor Masahiko Tanaka greeted us warmly at the beginning of the rehearsal. The orchestra played challenging pieces by Otto Nicolai, Richard Strauss, Tchaikovsky and the spectacular work “Mono-Prism” for Japanese taiko drums and orchestra by Maki Ishii. Since Mr. Tanaka only took over the directing of the orchestra in Berlin, he repeated many interval cycles especially in Richard Strauss’ Symphonia Domestica. The rehearsal of the famous Mono-Prism unfortunately had to be shortened due to the limited period of time. Yet it was an exciting experience to see such a world-class ensemble rehearse their orchestra repertoire.