The Association was founded on April 28th 1966.
Since 1930 we are engaged, as a bridge between Japan and Italy, in activities to diffuse and promote music and art, to train musicians and artists through guidance and researches in history, culture, tradition, and to contribute to the development of traditional arts in both countries. We collaborate and co-organize events with Italian National Music Conservatories and public institutions, and promote international friendship and cultural exchanges. We also support musicians and artists helping them to study in famous Italian music and art schools.
We offer occasions and places to experience, research, train, exhibit, practice and make presentations in Italy, the country where Renaissance art, classical music, musical instruments and the five-line staff where born and where musical and artistic skills are highly valued. We also contribute to the transmission of the traditional bel canto vocal singing and technique in opera, the training of opera singers and the research both in classical music in general and in instrumental music in particular.
The Association focuses on musical, artistic, cultural and historic interests and is composed of members who agree with its main objectives. In order to promote cultural exchanges between Japan and Italy and to facilitate mutual understanding, good will and collaboration, it engages in the following activities:
of friendly exchanges, centering on the relations between Japan and Italy based on music, art, tradition, culture and history
Organization and support of concerts, exhibitions, lectures, courses, study groups, presentations, demonstrations and other events in the above mentioned fields
Support, recommendations, guidance about studying abroad, in Italy or Japan, to help musicians and artists to become excellent professionals
Organization of the following annual international competitions:
＜１＞Italian Opera Vocal Competition (co-organized with The Mainichi Newspapers)
Competition winners, promising prize winners and eccellent competitors will receive a scholarship and will be recommended to Italian National Music Conservatories (tuition free or preferential treatement) and encouraged to participate in the International Festival in Italian World Heritage Places to represent Japan.
Great efforts will be made in the fields of classical music and art, where we are influent, to present cultural aspects both of Italy and Japan, to create international exchanges and to support artistic activities.
About the founder, Maestro Makizo NAKAGAWA (1902-2008)
Since 1910 he learns violin and since 1920 learns singing from soprano Olga Kalasulova of the Montecarlo Royal Theatre, harmony from Meiro Sugawara, conducting from Hidemaro Konoe. In 1930 he travels abroad accompanied by Hidemaro Konoe (a member of an important aristocratic family, younger brother of the Prime-Minister of the time, founder of the New Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo, the present day NHK Symphony Orchestra), and studies in Germany, Italy and the United States (For further information please visit the official website).
In 1959 he is the first Japanese to be invited as a member of the jury at the International Competition for Verdian Voices in Busseto, Italy. He continues to serve on this jury duty and to be an executive committee member for 24 year, thereby building the base for strong bonds between Japanese musicians and Italy.
Always as the first Japanese to be invited, he takes part in the judging board of very many international competitions, such as Puccini Comp., Maria Canals Comp., Verona Comp., Gigli Comp., Mario Del Monaco Comp., Totti Dal Monte Comp., Treviso Comp., Rosa Ponselle Comp., Cosenza Comp., Senigallia Comp., Stresa Comp., Bellini Comp., and others, until 2007, when he is 104 years old.
In Japan he is a member of the jury and the executive committee for the Music Competition of Japan, organized by The Mainichi Newspapers and NHK, during 38 years, founds the Student Music Concours, organized by The Mainichi Newspapers, and contributes largely to the cultural activities of this newspaper.
In 1969 the Association organizes the first Concorso di Lirica Italiana (Competition for Singers of Italian Opera) together with The Mainichi Newspapers.
Makizo Nakagawa continues for half a century to introduce many Japanese singers to important Italian Music Conservtories and training schools, such as the Teatro alla Scala Academy of Lyric Opera. Since the end of World War II he regularly invites to Japan great performers of the “golden times”, educators and scholars from Italy and other European or American countries, and organizes many concerts and courses.
He also continues to be in friendly terms with famous singers he had become acquainted with during his studies in Italy in the 1930s, such as Toti Dal Monte, Beniamino Gigli, Gino Bechi, Giorgio Favaretto, Renata Tebaldi, Giulietta Simionato, Giuseppe Taddei and especially with Mario Del Monaco, regarded as one of the greatest dramatic tenors of the 20th century, and with Alessandro Ziliani, promoter of the International Competition for Verdian Voices.
Makizo Nakagawa passes away at 105 years of age, after an entire life dedicated to music, and his legacy is continued by the Italian-Japanese Association.