The Christopher N. Nozawa Gramophone Collection at Tokyo University of the Arts

The Christopher N. Nozawa Gramophone Collection at Tokyo University of the Arts

Last year, I was lucky to attend two Gramophone record concerts organized by Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai). The first concert was held in conjunction with the exhibition, “Double Impact” featuring art from the Meiji period. The concert was in 3 parts: 1. Traditional Japanese music (nagauta and kouta, songs with shamisen accompaniment) recorded around 1900, 2. Recordings played at a gramophone record concert at the Tokyo Academy of Music (the predecessor of Geidai) in 1910 and 3. Music composed or performed by graduates of the Tokyo Academy of Music.

DSC_1282 - CopyDSC_1283 - CopyMost of the recordings came from the collection of Christopher N. Nozawa (1924-2013), whose extensive collection of records was recently donated to Geidai. He particularly loved the violin, and so we got to hear recordings of famous violinists in Part 2. But the highlight for me was a recording made in 1931 of Joseph Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross performed by members of the Tokyo Academy of Music. The part we heard (4) features a solo violin line believed to have been played by Andô Kô, one of Japan’s very first violinists, who was concertmaster of the Academy’s orchestra at the time. For more details of Andô Kô, see my blog here:

The Geidai university library is working hard to make Christopher Nozawa’s vast collection available to the public. They welcome donations, so if anyone reading this happens to have money to spare and would like to help, I am sure they would love to hear from you! Unfortunately the information on their website and blog is only in Japanese:

The next concert this year is on 17 June: you can download a flyer from their blog:

Author Bio

Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen