Purpose/Goals, Overview

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Project Hand in Hand's goals are:
  1. Carrying out an education program that will enable children to have a global perspective, with the motto of "a program to educate people to support the future of Japan."
  2. Continuing to inform the world about the support necessary for the recovery of Japan, and creating an international stage to demonstrate gratitude for the generous support from countries around the world.
  3. Recognizing the importance of continuing the project, establish a foundation for the project to continue with a system for the next generation carrying out recovery to take over the project.
  4. Creating a support system including collaboration with our partners that can ensure optimal physical and emotional support even through times of continual change.
  5. Through music, we will work to achieve the above goals at a wide-ranging, international level.



Project Hand in Hand carries out activities using music, the common language of the world, to continually call for support for the recovery of Japan and to demonstrate gratitude for that support, both inside Japan and internationally.

The end goal of these activities is the stage at Lincoln Center in America, but the goal is not just to go on a choir trip.
Over the course of a variety of programs, the participating students gain a self-awareness of being representatives of Japan, and are then sent to the US after having being changed into children who will support the future of Japan.
Even though these students share an origin in “disaster-affected areas,” they usually have not interacted with other students from neighboring prefectures. By carrying out an exchange program with students in neighboring prefectures, they are able to independently share information, and become friends over a short period of time while increasing their communication skills.
In order to develop a global awareness in the students, an education program uniquely developed by the project has the students carry out workshops and presentations, enabling them to acquire presentation and communication skills allowing them to better present their own thoughts and ideas.
Their awareness as representatives of Japan performing live on stage is enhanced along with their voice as performers through training camps and practice sessions with the music director.


While overseas in the US, the Japanese students carry out an exchange program with American students for an entire day.
The students tour an American university, talk with each other over lunch, hold an exchange concert, and carry out a variety of other exchange programs that give the Japanese students the chance to encounter English, become used to it, and increase their English skills.


During rehearsals, the Japanese students’ awareness that they are performing together with a professional orchestra and musicians, and American students, is further increased. By successfully performing in the concert, the children feel the fulfillment of carrying something out to its conclusion, providing them with an invaluable experience. The children who finish this project, having found a hint to their own future, have matured to an extent that they seem like different people than when first joining the project.


This project does not simply end after participating in it.
Students who participated in the program previously carry out a volunteer program to help pass on the project to the next generation.


Those interested in volunteering (registration is required in advance, and only those who meet the requirements can become volunteers) support the efforts of the students that follow in their footsteps later, working behind the scenes to help run the project


Yearly Schedule

Philharmonia Orchestra of New York

Project Hand in Hand is an educational program by the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York (PONY).
PONY kindly provides support for the recovery of Japan to students affected by the disaster: the students participating in Hand in Hand.
It is thanks to PONY inviting the students participating in the project to perform in the New York concert that they are able to stand on the Lincoln Center stage. (Normally, students and beginners would not be able to perform at Lincoln Center.)



History of the New York City Opera, the Predecessor to the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York

The New York City Opera (NYCO) was formed in 1943 in response to New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia calling for a “people’s opera” that could be enjoyed at a reasonable price.
Seasons were held in spring and fall with the goal of contributing to the community, and the educational program that ran from 1966 to 2000 eventually entailed performances for arts in education to 4,000 students from over 30 schools, becoming an important educational program at Lincoln Center. Over its approximately 70 years, the NYCO was home to numerous skilled opera singers who would later be successful worldwide, including Beverly Sills, Sherrill Milnes, Plácido Domingo, Maralin Niska, Carol Vaness, José Carreras, Shirley Verrett, Tatiana Troyanos, Jerry Hadley, Catherine Malfitano, Samuel Ramey, and Gianna Rolandi. Sills acted as the NYCO’s general art director from 1979 to 1989. The NYCO was also the top place for American opera composers to debut their work.
From 1997 to 2008, with Paul Kellogg as art director and George Manahan as music director, the unique characteristics of the NYCO were further enhanced through actively approaching works such as those by Handel and Richard Strauss that were not often performed, and so also refining the orchestra’s skills.
Near the end of this period, the NYCO visited Japan for the first time as American cultural ambassadors to the 2005 Aichi World Expo. Despite being an opera house that was not well known in Japan, the NYCO carried out its usual American activities in Japan, performing at Lincoln Center prices and implementing educational programs in multiple areas. These performances also drew attention due to George Manahan’s protégé Atsushi Yamada conducting, as he acted as Manahan’s assistant for 11 years to become the only Japanese conductor in the 70 years of the NYCO’s history.
Paul Kellogg’s retirement performance in 2007, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, was conducted by Atsushi Yamada. Unable to handle the turbulent American economy after the global financial crisis, in 2011 the NYCO failed an attempt to restructure its finances. Due to these unfortunate financial difficulties, in November 2013 the NYCO filed for bankruptcy under the United States Bankruptcy Code, bringing an end to 70 years of history of beautiful music, masterful skills, and performances supported from the orchestra pit.
Recently, the orchestra has been operating independently, including performances with Andrea Bocelli, and performing in Project Hand in Hand three times. In 2016, the Orchestra Committee decided to carry out an independent restructuring by the orchestra of the NYCO. For this new start from zero, Atsushi Yamada was chosen as Principal Conductor, and the newly restructured orchestra began operating as the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York.