The Viola da Gamba Society of Japan - Who Are We ?

The Viola da Gamba Society of Japan (the Society) was founded in 1973 for the purposes of spreading the viola da gamba (viol) and its music, promoting and enhancing playing, research, exchanging information, and fostering friendship among its members. The Viola da Gamba Society of Japan is the third oldest Viola da Gamba Society in the world after the UK and the USA.
The Society has around 250 registered members, including amateur and professional players, instrument makers, composers, and musicologists.

<General Information>

[Main Activities]
  • The publication of a quarterly magazine.
  • The organisation and support of viol-related events.
[Events organized by the Society]
  • An annual viol summer course.
  • An annual autumn consort weekend.
  • Other meetings as arranged.
  • From time to time the Society also organises and supports open-to-the-public lessons, lectures and concerts related to the viol, such as those listed below:
  • 1990: M. Hirao lecture on “Trattado de Glosas by D. Ortiz”;
    1991: W. Kuijken solo recital;
    1991: A. Crum lesson (open to the public);
    1992: J. Savall lesson (open to the public);
    1997: Chelys Consort of Viols lecture concert 'History of the In Nomine' ;
    2001: P. Pandolfo lesson (open to the public).
[Services to Members]
  • A quarterly magazine - the only publication dedicated to viols in Japan.
  • A membership list - useful when looking for consort members to play with.
  • A scholarly journal (issued on an irregular basis).
  • A reduction to Society-organized events, such as the viol summer course.
  • Members’ discounts available at the following co-operating stores:
    • Academia Music Ltd.
    • Casa de la Guitarra S. A.
    • Shimokura Musical Instruments Co., Ltd.
  • A members’ mailing list.
[Membership Type]

Individual Membership: For individuals.
Student Membership:For students.
Family Membership: Available to those who live at the same address. Only one copy of each bulletin is provided to the registered address. Other services are provided as for individual members.
Corporate Members: For corporations and societies.

[Annual Fees]
  • Individual Membership: 4,000 JPY
  • Student Membership: 2,000 JPY
  • Family Membership: 4,500 JPY
  • Corporate Membership: 8,000 JPY
[How to contact us]

<Please change * to @ when you use.>

Events Schedule 2019

Viola da Gamba Society The 45th Summer Course,

Summer Course will be held from 26th to 29th July in Kakeyu onsen, Nagano
this year. Join our summer course to have amazing four days of music-making!

Friday, July 26 - Monday, July 29, 2019
Kakeyu onsen, Ueda-shi, Nagano, Japan.
1.5hours from Tokyo by JR Express Line Nagano-Shinkansen and take bus / taxt for 70 minutes.
Ms. Kaori Uemura (viola da gamba),
Mr. Ryosuke Sakamoto (viola da gamba),
Mr. Naoki Ueo (harpsichord)
  • Basic fees include accommodation, group lessons:
    Member of VdGSJ:JPY47,000
    Student member:JPY37,000
    Student non-member:JPY39,000
  • Optional fees:
    Individual lesson for 50 minutes:JPY6,000
    Individual lesson for with harpsicord:JPY8,000
    Ensemble lesson:JPY8,000

Application deadline:      June 2nd, 2019

Application procedures:

  1. Please request us an application form.
  2. Fill it out and send it back to us via email.
    You can print the application form and send it back by ordinal mail, too.
    Please ask our address by email.


gamba-event* (replace the * with @)

Past Events

<Viols in Japan in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries>
Kambe, Yukimi

    Japan shared the European vogue of viols through Portugal in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. An examination of bowed string instruments’ terms in archival documents, called Kirishitan monjo, demonstrates that Jesuit missionaries, then active in Japan, employed viols in both religious and secular ceremonies. Christians played a set of viols for polyphonic music. Japanese envoys* who visited the Iberian Peninsula and Italy from 1584 to 1586 brought a small viola da braccio to Japan. The following terms are found: viola(s) de arco, violoni, viola da gamba, viola, rabequinha and viola semplice. (from RILM abstract)

*  "Tenshô ken'ô shisetsu" (Japanese envoys in Europe 1582-90)
The original article: Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society of America Volume vol. 37, 2000, pp. 31-67.

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