Friday, August 31, 2012

Hatsune Miku turns 5, prepares to perform with Japan Philharmonic Orchestra

The world's most pre-eminent digital pop star, Hatsune Miku, celebrates her momentous fifth birthday today. While celebrations are more reserved this year than they were in 2009 when the Miku FES'09 concert was thrown to celebrate her turning two, Miku still has some fairly exciting things ahead for her digital toddlerhood.

Take her upcoming performance with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, for example. On November 23, Miku will collaborate with a 300 member orchestra live onstage as part of the "Ihatov Symphony" - a concert based upon a book written by the Japanese Novelist Kenji Miyazawa.

Taking the helm of this project is the 80-year-old Isao Tomita, who happens to be one of the preeminent old guard members of the Japanese electronic music movement.

For Miku fans, this concert will be a chance for them to see their idol in a new set of formalwear (a latex futuristic schoolgirl outfit doesn't really mesh with a philharmonic orchestra's more reserved white-tie style). Tomita himself is pushing for Miku to wear a jūnihitoe, a ceremonial 12-layer kimono traditionally worn by noblewomen.

A flyer for the November 23rd Ihatov Symphony concert

Interestingly, the November concert performance of the Ihatov Symphony is not the first electronic homage to Miyazawa's work.

Composer Tsukasa Tawada (who did the music for Pokémon Colosseum) provided the OST for an obscure Japanese roleplaying game Ihatovo Monogatari released for the Super Famicom in 1993. While it's not certain if the upcoming Japan Philharmonic Orchestra's concert will follow in Tawada's style, I think the audience would be quite lucky if they were able to hear an live arrangement of music like this...

Here's to hoping the DVD of the concert makes it onto CD Japan!