Michael Haefliger【Executive and Artistic Director】
From 24 October to 3 November 2015 LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA will be operating in Fukushima, marking its third time in operation since it was launched. This shows the endurability of this unique project, the idea for which was born as an immediate response to the devastating earthquake and catastrophic tsunami of 11 March 2011. This is the idea of a “new ark” that aims to provide hope and assurance and to open up new vistas through shared artistic experiences. Together with Masahide Kajimoto and myself, the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and the British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor have made this idea a concrete reality in the form of a concert hall that is inflatable and therefore able to be moved to different locations. Since then the Ark Nova has made a significant contribution to the efforts of cultural reconstruction in the regions that have been affected.
The premiere of LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA took place in the fall of 2013 in Matsushima, and in November 2014 it operated in Sendai. Now our “Ark of music” will dock in Fukushima, in the very city which was most strongly affected by the catastrophe of 2011 and which is still most directly associated with it. And once again – and this is especially important for me – the Ark Nova will serve not only as a stage for high-level artistic performances but also as a living, versatile center for encounter: It brings together international and local musicians, artists, and audiences. It presents a deliberately wide-ranging program meant to appeal to a great variety of people. And it combines an innovative style of architecture and musical experience.
Masahide Kajimoto 【Chairman of ARK NOVA Executive Committee, President of KAJIMOTO】
On March 12th, 2011, I got a phone call from Michael Haefliger, the Executive and Artistic Director of the Lucerne Festival, who inquired after us, and immediately, he asked my advice as to how he should aid the people in the affected regions. We, at first, intended to organize a charity concert in Lucerne, Switzerland, to raise money for the victims. Our concern was that we could hardly know for which exact purpose the money would be used. Then, we wondered about expressing these feelings in another way, as they reflect the friendship with Japanese people connected to the festival by music.
When we talked about the idea to the architect Arata Isozaki, our common acquaintance, he said that the time would come when people would enjoy art again once things begin to improve. Then we agreed to make together an inflatable, movable concert hall like a balloon to visit around the affected areas, which sounded to me like a dream.
At the time, the artist Anish Kapoor had been exhibiting his sculptural work entitled “Leviathan” in Paris. As Mr. Isozaki hoped our hall would be designed after this sculpture, Mr. Kapoor kindly accepted to collaborate with us. When Mr. Ambassador Urs Bucher with the Embassy of Switzerland in Japan joined the committee, all the actors were gathered for the project.
Humans have fatuous side, which causes war. However, this ARK NOVA festival reflects humans’ conscience, positivity and concern with others across borders. The project shows us firsthand, humanity’s beautiful heart. And as long as this kind of mind and behavior exist, there is hope for us. It reminds me of the words “beauty saves the world”. This year Japan welcomes the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA for the last time. I wish all the visitors a memorable experience.
Kaoru Kobayashi【Mayor of Fukushima City】
I, on behalf of the citizens of Fukushima City, would like to extend my warmest welcome to the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA 2015, which will be held in Fukushima.
It’s the Lucerne Festival, one of the most prestigious classical music festivals in Europe, which initiated this event with the aim of bringing, through music, touching hope to the regions affected by the devastating earthquake and catastrophic tsunami of March 11th, 2011. The third edition is to be held in our city thanks to the warm support from various quarters with the Embassy of Switzerland in Japan in the lead.
With its important principles captured in lines like “the city which values life”, “the city which values children and elderly people” and “the city full of vitality”, the city of Fukushima has promoted reconstruction vigorously after the disaster and further development towards the future with its goal: “The creation of a seat of prefectural government – a Fukushima that everyone can be proud of”.
I believe that hosting the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ARK NOVA which brings touching hope to people through music will be a wonderful chance for the city to transmit its vivacious image to the world.
And finally, I wish to deeply thank all the people who made the festival happen and to pray that the event’s aims will be achieved by receiving numerous people from all over the country.