"Instead of the white rain of sakura petals, it started to snow; the trees seemed to be crying."
- Yannick Paget
French composer and conductor Yannick Paget has lived in Japan since 2004. On March 11, 2011, he was in Kyoto, in south central Japan. At that distance he hardly felt the earthquake, but the magnitude of the disaster quickly became apparent.
Japanese TV broadcasts showed horrifying footage of the tsunami sweeping across fields, inundating roads, and completely washing away towns. In the coming days, the death toll mounted to over 16,000.
In the aftermath of the earthquake, Paget expressed both his grief for those lost and his hopes for recovery by composing "Tears of Sakura."
"When I started to compose this piece my head was filled with pictures from the disaster; fields of ruin and desolation. It was supposed to be the beginning of spring, when sakuras [cherry blossoms] are so beautiful in Japan, but winter was still going on. Instead of the white rain of sakura petals, it started to snow; the trees seemed to be crying."
Performance Today is proud to broadcast the world premiere performance of "Tears of Sakura" from a concert Paget conducted in Osaka, Japan. You can listen to the performance here.
Paget is donating all royalties from the piece to the Momo-Kaki Orphans Fund, an orphan's fund for children who lost their parents in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
In support of that effort, Paget has offered to provide complete orchestral scores and parts for free to any ensemble who would like to perform the piece. There is also a version for violin and piano, which is available for free by contacting Paget.