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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 April 22 - May 12  > Pro trombonist: I was very glad to see JCP lawmakers calling for compensation for us
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2020 April 22 - May 12 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Pro trombonist: I was very glad to see JCP lawmakers calling for compensation for us

April 24, 2020
Most orchestral concerts have been cancelled since the coronavirus outbreak. "Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Kira Yoshiko in early March in the Diet took up the issue and stated that many theater companies, musicians, and orchestras are in a terrible bind."

Yamaguchi Hisato, a trombonist of the New Japan Philharmonic, in an Akahata interview on April 24 said, "I was very glad to see a politician calling for compensation for us. I hope that lawmakers will enact policies so that we can perform without anxiety."

He said, "Unlike European countries and the United States, classical music culture is not rooted in Japan and it's not easy to advance our social status. No one has spoken up for the music culture in politics," adding, "So, I used to think that even if some voices are raised, these voices would never be heard in the political arena."

Yamaguchi in March launched a "telework orchestra" with more than 60 voluntary NJP members and posted on YouTube a video clip in which the on-screen mosaic shows members performing their parts at various locations. He said, "JCP Chair Shii Kazuo on TV programs and in press conferences also talked about our teleworking orchestra and stressed the need to compensate us."

The trombonist said, "An important thing for orchestral musicians is to cooperate with other musicians while feeling the sensitivity, the breathing, and the energy of the person playing next to oneself. When playing in our own homes, we are not in that situation. So, a slight lag in tempo and rhythm can occur. I could have fixed that by editing the video, but I didn't. I asked them to reshoot their performance."

Their teleworking performances are available on:

All concerts of the New Japan Philharmonic were cancelled in March, causing a loss of 30 million yen. The symphony still manages to pay salaries to its members but is in the red. Despite all the efforts, now the symphony has no way of making a living by performing music.

Yamaguchi said, "We are orchestral players but our salaries are low. So, we also perform concerts, give lessons, and perform in many other events to make a living. Now, we have lost all of these options. The situation is very tough. Freelance musicians are in an even more severe situation."

He continued to say, "When we are angry or have worries, we often lose emotional control. Some people may say that now is not the time to listen to music because we are currently in danger of becoming infected with the coronavirus, but I'm sure that music can help emotionally distressed people."
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