History and Feature Music Festival

History of Kirishima international Music Festival

Kirishima International Music Festival was founded under the name of “Kirishima International Music Festival/ Master courses” in 1980.

The outset of the festival was an approach made in 1975 by an educator of Kagoshima to Mr. Gerhard Bosse, first concertmaster of Gewandhaus Orchestra of that time, who was staying in Japan, to hold a master course. The purpose was “to provide students who wish but cannot study abroad with an opportunity to study with and listen to first classed musicians”. The spa resort adjoining a national park, Kirishima highlands were chosen for the festival site, and the philosophy was “to nurture musicians who are independent technically and personally”.

Since the launch of the festival, it has been rooted as tradition that the students who studied at the festival for a few years return to the festival to teach when they have grown to active musicians. Neither admiration-lead nor originated with building of a theatre, the festival which began by citizen’s contribution and musician’s enthusiasm have steadily grown even through the long recession. It was the philosophy of Mr. Bosse “Growth for the whole man supports a musician”and “appreciation of the musicians to the festival which nurtured them”which have supported the growth.

Today, Kirishima International Music Festival enjoys reputation as one of the most important festivals in Asia, for its excellent performance quality, admission-free concerts for expanding audience, and high standard of the increasing students from Japan and abroad.

Last year , Kirishima International Music Festival celebrated the 30th festival. The festival will be known more widely, throughout Japan, Asia and the world. Further development of the festival is anticipated along with reviewing the accumulation of the history.

A Music Festival in a National Park ? What to See and Hear



Once a year, more than 50 distinguished musicians who perform in many countries around the world?and who are also old friends?gather together in Kirishima. Along with festival music class students, they put on a two-week music festival featuring over 40 concerts. During the festival period, the town of Kirishima overflows with music. To make this a festival that continues 10, 20 and more years into the future, we present wonderful programs sure to delight not only the people of Kagoshima prefecture, but also people from around Japan and around the world.

Master classes open to the public

During the festival, world-famous musicians hold lessons with individual students before an audience of regular students and auditors. This forum for learning and inspiration--where outstanding musicians give practical guidance to highly talented, internationally oriented students--is a surpassing document. It is especially noteworthy that the current festival faculty and artists include many former Kirishima Music Festival master class students.

master class

master class

Miyama Concert Hall (Kirishima International Concert Hall)

Miyama Concert Hall

Built for the music festival in 1994, this hall?called a “miracle hall” by the International Acoustical Society, and boasts outstanding acoustics and atmosphere. It was designed to resemble a ship sailing out to sea. The main hall has 770 seats. The hall design is by Fumihiko Maki, and the acoustic design is by Yoichi Ando. The grounds, which cover an area of 55,000㎡, feature walkways and linden trees. This is a special place where music and nature can be enjoyed to the fullest.

Food, water, air…and hot springs

Kirishima, Japan’s first national park, boasts great natural beauty, a hot spring area with variously colored springs, and a wealth of delicious foods. The “Open-Air Buffet Party” prepared by local volunteers (Kirishima International Music Festival TOMONOKAI) is known throughout Japan. Not only does the location attract visitors to the festival with its resortlike atmosphere; it also serves as a source of physical and mental energy for all of the festival participants.