Eastman School of Music alumnus Todd Lowery ’89, brought the genius of Mozart to young Japanese students in Tokyo on Oct. 7.

Thirty-two Japanese fourth-grade students stood on stage in Tokyo’s world-renown Bunkamura Orchard Hall and sang sections from Mozart’s famous opera “Don Giovanni.”

The children were all students from Japan’s Gunma Kokusai Academy. The concert was part of a series of events that praised and recognized the achievements of the Royal Opera House of Belgium and its musical director, Kazushi Ono.

Lowery and his students were the center of attention at many concerts and workshops leading up to their performance in Bunkamura Orchard Hall. Lowery’s goal was to spread education and knowledge about the life, music and legacy of Mozart, as well as the history of European opera.

The experience combined traditional European classical music with modern Japanese culture, something that Lowery is proud of.

“This workshop was truly a unique educational and cultural experience for our students,” Lowery said, describing the cultural blend. “The exposure to a foreign culture at this level provided the unique opportunity for these young Japanese students to learn more about their own culture, as well as encouraging them to continually compare these new ideas, methods and cultural ideals to their own.”

Lowery takes great pride in the fact that the young Japanese students were exposed to Western music in a way that would not have been possible through any other means.

Lowery received his bachelor’s degree in music education and trombone performance from Eastman in 1989 and his master’s degree in jazz and contemporary media in 1993.

Sony Music Foundation sponsored the concert and other educational activities organized by Lowery himself. SMF is a philanthropic organization that sponsors music education programs and concerts throughout Japan and the world. Their sponsorship of this event was crucial to its success, a fact that both Lowery and Eastman do not overlook.

As a professional musician and music instructor, Lowery could not be more proud of his work.

“As an educator, this was the most emotionally powerful experience I’ve ever had,” he said. “The beauty with which the children sang was full of hope and unity.”

It is the mission of any teacher or professor to instill the values of an educated life to his or her students, and it can be said without question that Lowery is fulfilling this legacy through his work. His great talents and passions have allowed him to extend the values preached at Eastman to children and audiences around the world.

“Todd’s work represents exactly the type and quality of innovation for which the Eastman School is known,” Dean of the Eastman School of Music James Undercofler said. “We look forward to seeing how Todd continues to share his substantial talents.”

SMF is also proud to be involved with Lowery’s work.

“We are confident that what Todd and his students accomplish will positively affect music education in Japan,” associate manager and producer at SMF Miki Iwata said. “And we hope to be able to play a role in making a difference in educating, cultivating and developing a new generation of young and excited music lovers.”

Todd Lowery currently lives in Japan where he is continuing his work as a musician and educator for young Japanese music students.

The success of his programs has brought great personal reward to his students, to Japan and to all those who have worked closely with him.

With his ambitions, his talents and an overwhelming amount of support from both the SMF and the entire Rochester community, Lowery’s future stands in an optimistic light.

<fuentes can be reached at jfuentes@campustimes.org.



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