Nippon Violin Society
Nippon Violin Society-a program to connect musicians and stringed instruments-
Nippon Violin is celebrating our 40th year in the business.
From the onset, we were engaged in all aspects of stringed instruments but with our desire to respond to the varying needs, our services have expanded over the years. As we looked back on the character of the requests that came our way, we have decided to mark our 40th anniversary as the year to establish an organization which we believe is essential for the music industry in Japan.
One of the key focuses of this new organization is the loaning of famous instruments to the musicians.
To date, we have loaned instruments to over one thousand musicians.
As prices of these fine instruments continue to soar, we believe this service bears greater significance today, particularly for the young hopefuls.
With your kind understanding, we are now able to launch a membership structure to systematically respond
to this growing demand.
Instrument owners [membership]
- Introduction of
We not only introduce instruments for performance but also of high asset value.
- Storage / Maintenance
The instruments which are not on loan are kept under strict humidity/temperature control to maintain its optimum performance.
- Insurance for
We are happy to assist you if and when you decide to take out an insurance for your instrument.
- Loaning Ceremony
We handle all process in drawing up the loan agreement between the owner and the musician.
If requested, we also assist in organizing a concert at our salon to showcase the instrument.
We introduce owners who are looking to loan out their instruments.We are proud to have assisted many musicians over the years.
Because we know that being able to play a wonderful instrument is one of the most blissful moments for a musician. If you are interested, we strongly recommend you register with the Nippon Violin Society.
Nippon Violin Society: If you hope to support a musician, would you consider our matching services between a musician and an instrument owner, where we introduce a suitable instrument to be loaned for the musician? We will see to it that both the musician and the owner will have satisfactory advantage. Mr. Hiroshi Sumino, the owner of a Tourte bow, and Mr. Rei Tsujimoto, a popular cellist who has been loaned the Tourte bow, are a fabulous combination likewise. Take a look at their interview.
1) About the very first meeting with Mr. Tsujimoto
(Sumino)I had thought Mr. Tsujimoto’s music was fabulous. I heard almost every performance of his in the Gaspar Cassado International Violoncello Competition. Besides, I sometimes went to his concerts, visited him in music shop fairs, and at some other events I had chances to get in touch with him directly or indirectly.
2) What gave you the idea to loan him the bow?
(Sumino)It is now a sort of common to loan an instrument from a big foundation to a musician, but I have rarely heard about loaning a bow, about which I got curious and I felt it might be worthwhile doing it.
Giving an example from my business field, thinking of a car race, the key to shorten time is tires.
An engine is to an instrument what tires are to a bow. Changing tires is the best shortcut for the best result. Of course, there is still a question if the player can command the good bow or not.
Mr. Ko Iwasaki, my cello teacher, is always saying that a bow is more important than an instrument.
Having such a concept like this, I happened to be given a chance at a music shop in Chicago to play with a bow which a renowned player had once loved and used. Besides, I found that excellent bows which renowned players in history had used were on the market.
Then, I came up with the idea to let an excellent player, like Mr. Tsujimoto, use an excellent bow. What sort of sound would be produced? It must be excellent. I thought it would be a good chance. An excellent bow should be played by a more excellent player than me.
Honestly, I also have a little scheming idea that the worth of the bow will be higher if I loan it to an excellent player like Mr. Tsujimoto.
3) Mr. Tsujimoto, what did you think of loaning the bow when you first heard about it?
(Tsujimoto) I was in trouble with a Lamy bow that I had used too much and the bow was not functional enough. Then I heard from Mr. Sota Nakazawa, President of Nippon Violin, that Mr. Sumino would like to loan me an excellent bow. I got delighted very much. A bow is consumable, which is different from an instrument, and more fragile than people think. Actually loaning a bow is not common.
I was really excited when I heard the bow was a Tourte, a celebrated bow.
4) What is the merit of borrowing the (Tourte) bow? What has changed?
(Tsujimoto) From the start, everything was obviously different. Even with very small pressure, the sound reaches far.
For example, when you plane a wood board with a good plane, you may feel light and smooth sliding of the plane. I imagine a good plane would make it happen. Back to the bow, the lower tones are very deep and strong. Much different from others.
The first concert with this bow was the one to play small music pieces at Suntory Hall. It felt really comfortable. I could do easily what I had needed enormous efforts for, and I felt the wider range of sound expressions was given.
I think the chemistry between the bow and my cello is very good. From a different view, we can say that if I use the bow with a newly made instrument, the new instrument will be better (grow).
Once I know what really good sound is like (like the sound with a celebrated Tourte bow), I never compromise even when I play with any other bow and seek to produce sounds of the Tourte level. It may be what I have learned from the bow.
5) After loaning the bow to Mr. Tsujimoto, did you go to any of his concerts?
What did you think then?
(Sumino)When I listened to the sound in a concert, I was amazed. I thought it was the best and impeccable matching (with the Stradivarius).
To change the subject, I have listened to many younger players in their teens, of which performances are highly skillful as if they had reached somewhere high. However, few of them may think what their own sound is. It may be difficult until they reach the age of thirty.
When some of such young players learn how important “sound” is, they may hope to change the bow to use. Others may start to think about sound just because they have grown up enough to choose a bow at their own will. In either way, they may find that a different bow makes a substantially different sound. By loaning a bow to such a young player, I think I can give him/her a chance to be aware of it.
6) We Nippon Violin offers matching services called “Nippon Violin Society” to connect an owner of an excellent instrument and a musician. What do you think of it?
(Tsujimoto) In particular, there are many talented young cellists, but many of them cannot buy a good instrument. We live in the time when an ordinary family (where the father is an average company worker, for example) can hardly buy a good cello. Some dozens of years ago, they could get a good bow, but the prices of bows have been and are still going up and such a family cannot catch up with them.
In such time like today, it is very good to meet a person who will support a musician by loaning an instrument or a bow. There are many families who just hold excellent instruments in their houses though they have never played them. It is very good to set up meeting points to loan or sell/buy them inexpensively.
Whether younger than or near my age, sound-sensitive players can produce very good sound even if their instruments are not good enough. If an excellent instrument is matched for a player, any player will produce some level of good sound with the good instrument, but the question is if we can extract the player’s potential fully or not. Those who can expose their potential with such a good instrument may be sound-sensitive or have their own sounds as if their voices. I hope you will try to find players of such potential.
In many cases, a player gain patrons after he/she gets high social reputation, but I heartily hope people will start supporting sound-sensitive younger players before they stand on their feet.
7) May I have some words each from you about what you hope for in the future?
(Tsujimoto) I wish I could use the bow (loaned to me now) for longer. A bit joke (He smiled).
With a wider view, it is better for me to return the bow to Mr. Sumino and he will loan it to a younger player, but I hope to play with it a little longer.
(Sumino)Privately I have loaned bows to Mr. Haruma Sato and Mr. Michiaki Ueno (Both are cellists) besides Mr. Tsujimoto. Of course, I need manage fund (to purchase bows) and it is not an easy work, but there are still some players I would like to loan bows to if I could obtain good bows in the future.
With longer expectation for the future, I hope the level of the cello music in Japan will go up with such support.
Thank you very much for your time and cooperation. It was very nice talking with you.
Hiroshi Sumino (The owner of a Cello bow “Tourte”)
Started playing the violin under the instruction by Awaji Noda. Changed from the violin to the cello at the age of 13. The cellist of Japan String Quartet. He has been inspired by and has studied with Ko Iwasaki, who is a popular cellist in USA and Japan, for these several years. He also studied with Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Hakuro Mouri, Lluis Claret, Sung-Won Yang, Alain Meunier, etc. He is regularly invited to play as a regular artist at concerts organized by an NPO organization “Kokoro wa Tomoshibi to Oto to Mori no Kenkyujo (Research Institution ‘Spirits of Lights, Sounds and Forest’).” He has also got high reputation for his co-performances with Nozomu Takahashi, a pianist, at the lighting house TOKYO Minami Alps Salon in Fujimimachi, Nagano Prefecture and the lighting house TOKYO Co., Ltd. in Kameido, Koto Ward, Tokyo. He actively exchanges information with and performs with renowned artists from abroad, among whom he is affectionately called by his nickname, Ma Ma-Yo.
He is using a cello by David Tecchler 1701 and a Tourte bow.
Rei Tsujimoto (Cellist)
Top cellist of NHK Symphony Orchestra.
Started to play the cello at the age of 7. Lived in Philadelphia until the age of 11. Graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts at the head of his class in Division of Instrumental Music in Dept of Music, receiving Acanthus Music Award. Afterwards, studied in Sibelius Academy in Finland and Bern University of the Arts in Switzerland, on a scholarship from Rohm Music Foundation.
In 2009, the 3rd place in the 2nd Gaspar Cassado International Violoncello Competition (the top place among the Japanese participants) and Best Performance Award of Piece by Japanese Composer at the same time, the documentary of which was broadcast on NHK-BS in a documentary program “Cello Espressivo! – a Youth Striving for an International Competition”).
In 2013, his recital at Toppan Hall was highly praised in the concert review of Yomiuri Newspaper as ”simple, honest, masculine and robust sound” and “a cellist of most talented.” The 12th Saito Hideo Memorial Foundation Award in the same year.
Besides his activities as a soloist, he performs as a member of Saito Memorial Orchestra, also in chamber music in Arkas Sasebo Residence Quartet, Quartet Explloce, Oikawa Koji Torio Bee, Yuzuko Horigome Chamber Series and many others.
By performing with Vadim Repin in Music Festival Argerich’s Meeting Point in Beppu 2016, he started to be recognized as a competent musician and much expectation has been gathering for his future career.
So far he has performed with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, New Japan Philharmonic, Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra, Japan Century Symphony Orchestra, The State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia and Berlin Symphony Orchestra, etc. Studied with Metta Watts, Orlando Cole, Yorimitsu Kawamoto, Noboru Kamimura, Nobuko Yamazaki, Arto Noras and Antonio Meneses. He is using an Antonio Stradivarius 1724 loaned by the NPO organization Yellow Angel and a Tourte bow specially loaned by Taishi Sumino.