A student showing a viola to His Majesty The Emperor

His Majesty The Emperor of Japan visits the Royal College of Music

Wednesday 26 June 2024

His Majesty The Emperor of Japan today experienced the Royal College of Music’s unique blend of heritage and innovation.  

His Majesty The Emperor of Japan visited the Royal College of Music today as part of the official Japan State Visit to the United Kingdom. The Royal College of Music has welcomed Japanese students throughout the history of the College. 

The Emperor visited the Royal College of Music’s new Performance Laboratory, a pioneering performance simulation facility combining state-of-the-art acoustic and visual technology to create immersive performance conditions, bridging the gap between the practice room and the concert hall.  Royal College of Music musicians demonstrated the special features of the space with a performance of 'Chi il bel sogno di Doretta' from Puccini’s La Rondine by student Misato Makiyama and professor Kumi Matsuo, followed by student duo, viola player Otoha Tabata and cellist Maxim Calver, who performed Bach’s Invention no 8 and no 9. 

His Majesty then toured the special, historical collections housed in the Royal College of Music Museum and viewed highlights including the earliest dated guitar, the Belchior Dias from 1581, and the earliest known stringed keyboard instrument, the clavicytherium from c.1480. Together with RCM keyboard player Apolline Khou, Royal College of Music professor Reiko Ichise and student Xavier Lowe performed Ward’s Ayre on a viols from the College’s Kessler collection which includes some of the most remarkable viols from the key makers of the early British tradition, before His Majesty met with students from the Royal College of Music.  


Some of the Royal College of Music’s community of Japanese students were particularly delighted by the opportunity to meet His Majesty The Emperor. Otoha Tabata, an RCM Master’s student who performed the viola in the Performance Laboratory, described how she was ‘incredibly honoured and thankful to receive this unique chance to perform for His Majesty The Emperor’.  

This occasion marks His Majesty The Emperor’s second visit to the Royal College of Music, having first visited the College in 1985. 


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