NHK Orchestra Plays Tribute To People Of Japan

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Japan's top orchestra, the NHK Symphony, played last night outside Washington, D.C. "Bach's Air On a G String," was added at the last minute by conductor Andre Previn. He said it was a tribute to the people of Japan. Michele Norris and Robert Siegel have more.

(Soundbite of music, Bach's "Air on the G String")

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Japan's top orchestra, the NHK Symphony, played last night just outside Washington, D.C. This piece, Bach's "Air on the G String," was added at the last minute by conductor Andre Previn. He said it was a tribute to the people of Japan.

(Soundbite of music, Bach's "Air on the G String")

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Ninety-three musicians of the NHK Symphony boarded a plane in Tokyo less than 24 hours after the earthquake. The orchestra's Chairman Naoki Nojima spoke to the audience before the concert.

Mr. NAOKI NOJIMA (Chairman, NHK Symphony Orchestra): (Through translator) We struggled with the decision of whether we should cancel the tour or not. Most of us have had to leave our families behind. And two of our original members are not here today because their homes were destroyed. Still, we decided to forge ahead and come to America, because we believe music can uplift the heart and strengthen the spirit. So as we perform for you tonight, we are performing for ourselves as well and for our loved ones back home.

NORRIS: The NHK Symphony Orchestra performs at Carnegie Hall in New York on Monday night before returning to Japan.

(Soundbite of music, Bach's "Air on a G String")

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