Photo/Illutration Audiences at a live performance of the Pacific Music Festival Academy at the outdoor stage of the Sapporo Art Park in Sapporo’s Minami Ward in July 2017 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

SAPPORO--This northern city will host its annual acclaimed summer Pacific Music Festival for the first time in three years now that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have abated.

The international classical music event founded in 1990 by famed conductor Leonard Bernstein will be held from July 16 to Aug. 2, organizers said.

However, they cautioned the event is subject to change, depending on developments with regard to the public health scare that has raged globally for more than two years.

The festival accepts young classical players from around the world as Academy members, providing them with an opportunity to perform with world-class musicians.

To date, the outdoor event, which was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, has nurtured more than 3,600 musicians from 77 countries and regions.

In 2021, musicians from overseas joined the festival online while Japan-based artists performed at concerts. But the event itself was canceled before the final day after a member of staff was found to be infected with the novel coronavirus.

This year, a total of 25 concerts will be on offer ranging from chamber music to orchestral works in Sapporo, Tomakomai, Tokyo and elsewhere.

With Rainer Kuchl, an Austrian violinist and former concertmaster of the Wiener Philharmoniker, and other musicians serving as instructors, the PMF Orchestra will comprise 52 Academy members.

Ken-David Masur, son of world-famous conductor Kurt Masur, will serve as conductor for the opening concert scheduled to be held at the Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara on July 16 to perform Mendelssohns Symphony No. 5, aka Reformation, and other pieces.

The final concerts to be held on July 30, 31 and Aug. 2 in Sapporo and Tokyo will feature Lahav Shani, the music director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, as conductor to present Brahms Symphony No. 2.

Popular pianist Makoto Ozone will also join to offer a solo performance.

For detailed information, visit the official website at (