Chords of International Harmony:
The Tokyo String Quartet Resonates with Subaru Telescope

March 09, 2010

Saturday evening, February 6th, was a night to remember, not only during the extraordinary performance of the Tokyo String Quartet, one of the world's most prestigious chamber ensembles, but also afterwards at the animated informal reception for the artists. Subaru provided the site for the reception, where the performers mingled with about 40 guests-members of the Hawaii Concert Society; Subaru staff; and other admirers who had attended the concert.

This relaxing context offered interesting opportunities to converse and learn more about this celebrated group. One of the guests, visiting from Japan, is a board member of the Nippon Music Foundation, which loans its famous Stradivarius instruments to the Quartet. The reception gave him a chance to meet and talk with the members of the Quartet for the first time. Other guests had a close-up view of the Quartet's famous stringed instruments, the so-called "Paganini Quartet", which were superbly crafted in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and were once owned and played in the 19th century by virtuoso violinist Niccolo Paganini.

Beyond the guests' obvious enjoyment of their conversations, the evening highlighted several themes that the Quartet and Subaru share. Although their specialties are different, Subaru and the Quartet are similar in cultivating cooperation in the wider international arena and creating ties with diverse communities around the world. Subaru offers observations with its telescope to scientists worldwide and teams with them to publish joint articles and develop new technologies. The Quartet collaborates with a remarkable array of artists, composers, and organizations to foster a global musical community, in addition to performing in over 100 concerts a year in many different countries.

At its core, the similarities between Subaru Telescope, a scientific organization, and the Tokyo String Quartet, a group of musical artists, converge in their shared values of international collaboration and cooperation, enhanced communication, and a dedication to excellence. Such attributes may be partially responsible for their longevity. In 2009, Subaru celebrated its 10th anniversary since the telescope saw first light, and the Quartet recently marked its 40th anniversary in Tokyo with three major concerts.

Although the composition of the Quartet and the staff at Subaru have changed over the years, their commitment to cooperation and quality has not. As one reviewer said of the Quartet, "The things the Tokyo does better than most are its almost symbiotic level of togetherness that produces such uniformity of interpretation." As Subaru continues to scan the skies to discover more about the stars and distant galaxies, and the Quartet plays the universal language of music to reach diverse audiences, they resonate in touching a human chord of international harmony on this Earth.

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