News Story

Announcement made as Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs Fiona Hyslop visits Tokyo ahead of 2020 Olympic Games.

Today (8 October 2019) the Edinburgh International Festival reveals that the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra (TMSO) will perform at the Usher Hall as part of the 2020 International Festival.

The orchestra makes its International Festival debut at the Usher Hall with Music Director Kazushi Ono conducting, in a programme including Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No.1 and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. Tickets go on sale in March along with the International Festival’s full 2020 programme.

The announcement was made during a visit to Japan by Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, to promote the diplomatic, economic and cultural links between Scotland and Japan. The Cabinet Secretary hosted a Scotland is Now reception where she met with officials and President of the orchestra, Seiichi Kondo.

TMSO performs at the Edinburgh International Festival in an exchange inspired by two major events—the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the UK in JAPAN 2019-20 cultural season.

One of Japan's leading orchestras, TMSO was established by Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 1965 as a part of a cultural celebration to mark the Tokyo Olympic Games. Next year, as the world’s greatest athletes once again gather in Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra travels to Edinburgh International Festival, the world’s most important performing arts festival, as part of a global celebration of Tokyo's sporting and cultural legacy.

UK in JAPAN 2019-20 is an ambitious joint initiative by the British Council and the British Embassy, Tokyo. It marks Japan’s hosting of two landmark events—the Rugby World Cup currently taking place, and the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020. It also seeks to build on these events by celebrating Japan, from its arts and culture to innovation and cutting-edge technology in areas such as medicine, science and industry.

As ‘Music Ambassador for Tokyo’, TMSO’s Edinburgh International Festival performances and wider tour supports Tokyo’s Olympic summer by showcasing Japanese artists and focusing world attention on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

International Festival Director Fergus Linehan said: “We are thrilled to welcome Kazushi Ono and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra to the International Festival for the first time next August. Founded as part of the cultural celebration at the 1965 Olympics, the Tokyo Met is an enduring symbol of the power that culture and sport share in bringing people together, and we look forward to enjoying their performances with audiences from Scotland and all over the world.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and Sport Fiona Hyslop said: “It’s a great pleasure to announce in Japan that the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra will be performing in Scotland at the Edinburgh International Festival during its 55th year.

“This is my fourth visit to Japan and I am pleased to see cultural relations flourishing, including the Scottish Ensemble and Anna Meredith opening the Yokohama Festival, highlights from Glasgow’s Burrell Collection currently touring Japan and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra playing at the inaugural BBC Proms Japan.”

Music Director Kazushi Ono said: “At a time when there is a sporting focus on Japan (the Rugby World Cup and the run up to the Tokyo Olympics) I am delighted that TMSO will fulfil its role as Music Ambassador for Tokyo by giving concerts in Europe and making its debut at the Edinburgh International Festival. I am also proud to share this wonderful orchestra with the audiences that have supported me over many years but who have not yet heard a Japanese orchestra.”