ASTANA – On April 10-11, a Japanese Spring Arts Festival was held in Astana.Popular jazz pianist Ayako Shirasaki starred in a concert on April 10 in the Astana Music Hall. She performed alongside famous jazz musicians drummer Gene Jackson and virtuoso bass player Noriko Ueda.
In 2010, Shirasaki won international acclaim with her album “Falling Leaves – Live in Hamburg.” She founded the Sakura music school in New York City and gave a master class for young Kazakh musicians.
On April 11, famous Kazakhstan performers baritone Sundet Baygozhin, soprano Zhupar Gabdullina, pianists Timur Ormanchiev and Arman Tleubergenov, organist Saltanat Abilkhanova, violin cellist Yermek Kurmanaev and Damir Burkitbayev on the clarinet presented European, Japanese and Kazakh classics at the Organ Hall of the Kazakh National University of Arts. They played European, Japanese and Kazakh classics.
Master of sand art Catherine Jackie has created a breathtaking background for the beautiful music, the audience saw the blooming sakura, the boat on the water surface, a Japanese hut on a shore.
The festival celebrated the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival which is being held in Kazakhstan for the fourth consecutive year.
On April 19, the Japanese cultural festival will move to Almaty with events celebrating the art of origami, calligraphy, kimono dressing and kirie (the Japanese art of paper cutting).Sakura blossoms will be in bloom in the city’s Sakura Alley.
In March, the 13th Japanese Film Festival was held in Almaty and an oratory competition in Japanese was held in al-Farabi Kazakh National University.
Twice-yearly Japanese cultural festivals are now held every year in both Astana and Almaty in spring and autumn. The Japanese Autumn Festival will be held next in November. The festivals are organized in cooperation with the Embassy of Japan, the Degdar Humanitarian Fund and Japan Tobacco International. The festivals have the goal of strengthening bilateral cultural relations, and introducing the people of Kazakhstan to the traditional and contemporary art of the Land of the Rising Sun.