Tenor singer Sekai (Shigeo Oguri) made his grand debut in August 2015, at the Nagoya Congress Center in front of an audience of 1,500 people. While deepening his bonds of friendship with world-famous conductor Seiji Ozawa, Sekai studies vocal musical performance in New York and Japan, developing his singing voice for performances on stages around the globe.
Sekai's VoiceThe list of teachers under which Sekai has studies serves as testament to his talent as a vocalist. This lineup includes overseas instructors such as Mark Oswald of the Metropolitan Opera master classes and Carnegie Hall Teaching Artist Claudia Friedlander, as well as teachers in Japan including Masashi Mori who is active at Germany's Staatskapelle Dresden. These are the experts who have helped Sekai refine and develop his voice.
Sekai's ExpressivenessSekai (Shigeo Oguri) has cultivated a number of friendships with artistic individuals. Akira Senju, for example, the composer of music for a television drama reenacting the history of Toyota's founder, for NHK's celebrated Taiga dramas (major historical television dramas released every year), and for other prominent works. Sekai is also friends with Akira's older brother, Hiroshi Senju, a Japanese-style painter living in New York. Additionally, he has fostered close bonds of trust with Seiji Ozawa, the world-famous conductor: Sekai has been a supporter of the conductor's Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival for many years, providing the Lexus vehicle Ozawa uses to get around and helping in other ways. Through these friendships, Sekai has been able to improve his expressive abilities.
Sekai's MusicSekai's musical endeavors are wide and varied, extending beyond the world of classical music. He serves as one of the leading sponsors for the Youth Graffiti Concert, which is held every year in front of 7,000-strong audiences at Gaishi Hall and led by well-known folk singers such as Kosetsu Minami, Jiro Sugita and Ryoko Moriyama. In 2016, Sekai was also the main sponsor of the concert held over a two-day period at the Nagoya Congress Center (reserved for exclusive two-day use) by Tatsuya Ishii, vocalist for famous group Kome Kome Club. In addition, Sekai provides large-budget sponsorships every year to the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, has donated to support the Aichi University of the Arts' 50th anniversary activities, and makes a wide range of other contributions toward the world of music.
From Shigeo Oguri to SekaiA few words spoken casually to Shigeo Oguri opened his eyes to the world of opera music. Serving as a revelation, these words inspired Oguri to action, and following his initial performances at the Imperial Hotel Osaka, in Singapore and at various other venues, he made his debut as the tenor opera singer Sekai. With his first official appearance as Sekai at the Nagoya Congress Center in August 2015 in front of an audience of 1,500 people, the singer offered an impassioned performance using the voice with which he was born.
Sekai's JourneyEvery year, Sekai provides a solo performance of "Kimigayo," Japan's national anthem, at the Nagoya City Board of Education awards ceremony. Outside of Japan, he has offered vocal performances in Guam, New York and Singapore. The singer held his Opera Aria The Concert Vol. 1 in April 2017 to a packed house, and his performance proved to be an astounding success, greeted with thunderous applause from the audience. Sekai tirelessly practices each and every day, hoping to one day perform at Carnegie Hall.
Sekai’s Performance at Carnegie!
Sekai(世歌勳) will perform at the Carnegie Hall!
Shigeo Oguri, commonly referred to by his artist name “Sekai” (世歌勳) has always dreamed big. He once said, “dreams are not something you should wait to be realized, you have to pursue them!” Following this principle, he refuses to take no for an answer and rises to every challenge, and as a result has had great success in turning many of his dreams into reality.
“To sing at the Carnegie Hall in New York”.
This was Sekai’s dream ever since he started training to become an operatic tenor. Having only started vocal training at the age of 50 however, to many it sounded like a mere pipe dream.
Everyone considered singing as one of his hobbies but his mind was determined. Taking on this challenge would open the way to new possibilities. Never losing sight of his goal, Sekai persevered with his training and continued to demonstrate an unwavering positive outlook.
His hard work and determination have finally paid off. The time has come for Sekai to perform on the world stage!
On Saturday 2 February 2019 he will give his greatest performance to date at the Zankel Hall, the second biggest auditorium of the Carnegie Hall with a seating capacity of 600.
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue located at 7th Avenue at 57th Street in Manhattan in New York City, United States. Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1891, many world famous musicians have performed there.
The historic building which recently celebrated its 125th anniversary is known for its grand architectural style and splendid acoustics, drawing a great number of music enthusiasts from around the world.
As one would expect, the Carnegie Hall Corporation that manages and operates the various stages, receive tens of thousands of applications each year. Only the artists and performers that pass the corporation’s rigorous reviewing process are given the distinguished honor to perform there.
How then, was Sekai able to qualify for such an honor?
In part it was due to his great commitment towards his vocal training and his naturally beautiful sounding voice.
The corporation was also required to review his lessons, the instructors he was training under, his performance history, and the personal connections he had made through his journey of becoming an artist.
Along with musical achievements, the corporation places particular importance on the artist’s degree of contribution to society in their review process. This includes how much social contribution has been made in the cultural field. This tradition originates from the founder Andrew Carnegie, who was known not only for being a successful businessman but also a great philanthropist.
As many of you are already aware, Shigeo Oguri is a top-ranking businessman in Japan who runs Toyota and Lexus car dealerships. He is also an active supporter of the Cool Japan Movement, acting as one of the Kokushu no Kai “Sake Samurai”, who work to promote Japanese sake and culture throughout the world and encourage international exchange in the process.
In his home prefecture of Aichi where he is a committee member of the Board of Education for Nagoya City, he is dedicated to resolving educational issues and undertakes volunteering activities to help improve the lives of local children.
His support for the the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival held each summer in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture as well as his friendships with famous Japanese painters residing in New York were also counted towards his evaluation.
Such a high level of involvement in a wide range of activities and his role as an active member of the community led to a positive review score.
It addition, it can be presumed that establishing himself as an artist at age 50 despite only having a background in business, his desire to contribute towards the global community and his extremely positive outlook were also contributing factors.
There are only 350 days to go until 2 February 2019. Sekai is practicing again today and is working hard at finding new ways he can contribute to society and the field of business. He lives by his motto “Ichibyou Hou” (Every second is precious).
“Using my voice as an instrument, I hope to spread the beauty of music around the world”.
“Using the power of music, I wish to improve greater communication across the world”.
These are Sekai’s dreams that he is determined to achieve. Holding a concert at Carnegie Hall brings him one step closer to realizing these goals.
We ask that you support Sekai and his inspiring journey!
As part of his diverse array of activities and performances, Shigeo Oguri has performed as the tenor vocalist Sekai at the release party for his latest book, at the Cool Japan Sake Party, for the Nagoya City Board of Education and at other such events and venues. His talent as an artist was proven to all at his concert in Nagoya, and as his artist name Sekai (a homonym for "world" in Japanese) implies, he plans to expand his efforts beyond Japan to stages around the world.