JapanOC plans revealed

Daily Pilot

A tribute to Toru Takemitsu, Japan's celebrated 20th century composer, will be among the performances and concerts featured at JapanOC, a six-month festival coming to Costa Mesa in the fall that will celebrate the country's diversity, arts and culture.

The festival's programming was revealed during a luncheon Wednesday at the Noguchi Garden at Pacific Arts Plaza in Costa Mesa and heralded by the clamor of drums in a Shishi Mai, or Japanese Lion Dance, performance.

"We'll be featuring every kind of music, from sacred court compositions to classical and avant-garde," said Dean Corey, president and artistic director of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, which is presenting the festival on the West Coast. "We'll have traditional and contemporary dance and theater, the visual arts, a New Year family festival, and more."

The festival is the second of a collaboration among New York's Carnegie Hall, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Philharmonic society.

The partnership was made possible after Henry Segerstrom, managing partner of C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, and Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall's executive and artistic director, met during a dinner almost two years ago and discovered that they had common views of art and how it should contribute to society, Gillinson said.

"JapanOC follows upon the tremendous success of our previous multidisciplinary festival, Ancient Paths, Modern Voices," Corey said.

Ancient Paths marked the first time in 120 years that Carnegie Hall worked with an outside organization to put on a festival.

Among those who attended the program announcement was Hiroshi Furusawa, Japan's acting deputy consul general in Los Angeles. Furusawa, who read a message from Consul General Junichi Ihara, also participated in a Japanese tradition that is believed to bring good fortune at the beginning of a new venture. Using a mallet, Furusawa, Segerstrom, Corey and Gillinson smashed open a barrel of sake.

But there was no sake inside; instead, each guest was treated to a shot of sake.

JapanOC is set to begin in October throughout the Orange County Performing Arts Center, including the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and South Coast Repertory, and last until April.

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