Toranomon Symphonic Orchestra celebrated its 60th regular concert in Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space under the baton of the guest conductor, Professsor Antonin Kühnel.

Unfortunately, I was on a business trip to the Southern Hemisphere and could not participate in this memorial event. However, the concert program contained, as a special jubilee edition, some interesting data about the Orchestra and its members, and I would explain them here.
Professor Kuehnel
Professor Kühnel

change in the number of members

age structure of the members
Torakyo was established in 1971 from a merger of two small chamber music ensembles. As you can see from the table on the left, the members were at the beginning only about 40 and played mostly Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and other classical works which can be played by a smaller orchestra.

The number of members increased steeply at the beginning of the 1980s when I also joined the orchestra. Now, the total members count nearly 100. The share of the female members has been steadily increasing.

We have still 11 original members who have been playing with Torakyo for 27 years. However, most of the members are with us for less than 10 years ( check this graph). The structure of age groups shows that the largest segment is the 30s. However, we have young students as well as opas and omas over 70 among our members. The next graph shows the number of players according to their instrument and gender. Strings are evenly divided into men and women. Wind instruments, in particular brass instruments, are played mostly by men.

The last graph shows our occupation. The particular point is the relatively large number of public service people. This has its origin in the history of Torakyo, whose predecessor ensembles were the clubs by the staffs of State Tabacco Monopoly and NTT.

The average age of 41.7 is rather high for an amateur orchestra. This is an evidence of the long tradition of the orchestra as well as the comfortable human relations within the orchestra. I hear that there was once a heated discussion over the basic philosophy of the orchestra and those who insisted more discipline and training left and those who liked more drinks and social occasions remained in the orchestra. Therefore, it is not strange that we very often get together for drinks, picnics and other social functions ... rehearsals look like just an excuse for the following drinks :-)

As a result, 7 couples were born through the orchestra activities and got married. Three other couples were already married when they joined us :-) Now, the numbers of single male and female are about the same. It would not be surprising if some of them find their better half in the orchestra. There is only one member yet from the second generation of those couples. But, many kids are now learning instruments and they may be able to joyn us in the not so distant future. There are also cases that mother and daughter joyned us together.

There are a few members who live very far from our rehearsal hall. One of them, also the original member of the orchestra, used to work in Tokyo, but moved to a small town of Gunma prefecture when he inherited the kindergarten of his parents and became its principal. He therefore uses Shinkansen (bullet train) and commutes to Torakyo every week for rehearsal as well as drink session.

average age 41.7
marital statussexsinglemarried
family membersmarriage among members7 couples
other married couples3 couples
parent-child3 cases

The total number of the present and earlier members is presumably about 400. Some of them have moved out to remote areas, but have still contacts with us and very actively enjoy music in their new home grounds. Others have decided to put more energy into music like Mr. Miyagi who established his own orchestra.

I am not an exemplary member, for I very often miss regular concert stages due to inevitable business duties. I usually stay in Japan only for a few or more successive years and move to foreign countries. Nevertheless, they all accept me when I come back home from long absence and don't complain if I cancel concerts.

I hope that I will be able to play till over 70s and get together with friends in izakaya. Christmas is drawing. I already started arranging gatherings with Torakyo members.