After many years of continued effort it appeared that Suzuki’s students could stand their ground amongst professionals. Although Suzuki’s first pedagogical aim is for a higher educational level and not the training of professional musicians, it cannot be denied that his school has produced many good musicians. Suzuki’s instrumental education is to be seen in the first place as a broader general education which, however, should be so well founded that it may serve as a basis for professional training.
Many foreign artists came to see Suzuki and his students, among them Arthur Grumiaux, David Oistrach, Marcel Moijse, William Primrose, Yehudi Menuhin, Alfred Cortot and Mstislaw Rostropowitsch. All of them were impressed by Suzuki’s work, and encouraged him to continue on his path.
One of the first great artists who came to visit Suzuki in Japan was Pablo Casals. Fritz Kreisler once called him the “king of the bow” (J. Ma. Corredor: Gespräche mit Casals), and George Enescu with whom Koji Toyoda had studied for two years said of Pablo Casals: “Casals will always be a teacher for all of us.” Albert Einstein whom Suzuki often had met during his student years in Berlin also expressed his esteem for this unique artist and his respect for his character. He said of Casals: “What I admire most in him is his decent attitude… He has understood clearly that the world is more in danger through those who tolerate evil or encourage it than through the wrongdoers themselves…”
Suzuki admired Casals wholeheartedly, the person as well as the artist. He owned all his recordings and, in particular, appreciated his characteristic tone and profound musical eloquence. Of course, Suzuki was more than happy to meet this great artist, and arranged a festive concert in his honour.
When on 16th April 1961 Pablo Casals and his wife entered the Bunkyo Hall in Tokyo there were 400 children aged 5-12 years on stage, waiting to greet the maestro with their music. The students’ parents and the teachers of the Talent Education Institute welcomed the couple with enthusiastic applause. As soon as Casals had taken his seat, the children started playing. The maestro listened attentively, and quite obviously was moved by the joyfulness of the playing children. Their naturalness, their fi ne and accurate performance again and again provoked him to enthusiastic interjections. Even today Suzuki remembers this historic moment. In his book “Nurtured by Love” he describes the scene as follows: “His excitement reached its peak when the children played the Vivaldi concerto and then the Bach concerto for two violins. The maestro was weeping. His eyes were fi lled with tears, and his mouth was twisted with emotion. And when fi fteen or sixteen children, who had been taught the cello by Yoshio Sato, a pupil of Casals’, played Saint-Saëns’ ‘Swan’ and Bach’s ‘Bourree’, the great teacher’s emotion knew no bounds. When the children’s performance was over, I went to Casals to thank him for having listened to them, but before I could fi nish, he threw both his arms around me and silently wept on my shoulder. How often I myself had wept at this beautiful, innocent outpouring of the children’s inner life force! Now the great eighty-fi ve-year-old maestro himself was speechless in this sublime moment before the sound of that life force. Mr. and Mrs. Casals then went up on the stage, patting the heads of the children as they moved to the centre of the stage. Chairs had been put there for them. Holding the bouquet of fl owers that the children had presented to them, they sat down. Surrounded by these sweet little Japanese children, and in a voice shaking with emotion, the maestro spoke into the microphone: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I assist to one of the most moving scenes that one can see. What we are contemplating has much more importance than it seems. I don’t think that in any country in the world we could feel such spirit of fraternity or cordiality in its utmost. I feel in every moment that I have had the privilege of living in this country such proof of heart, of desire of a better world. And this is what has impressed me most in this country. The superlative desire of the highest things in life and how wonderful is to see that the grown-up people think of the smallest like this as to teach them to begin with the noble feelings, with the noble deeds. And one of this music. To train them to music to make them understand that music is not only sound to have to dance or to have small pleasure, but such a high thing in life that perhaps it is music that will save the world. Now, I not only congratulate you, the teachers, the grown up people, but I want to say: my whole admiration, my whole respect and my heartiest congratulations. And another thing that I am happy to say at this moment is that Japan is a great people, and Japan is not only great by its deeds in industry, in science, in art, but Japan is, I would say, the heart of the heart, and this is what humanity needs first, first, first.’ ”
In the course of the following years Suzuki associations were formed on many countries, like in the German Suzuki Association was founded in 1983. The association is member of the European Suzuki Association (ESA) which is the umbrella organisation for national Suzuki Associations in Europe, and also for the time being for Suzuki associations in Africa and the Middle East.
Today, the following twenty-four national associations are members of the European Association (ESA):– Talent Education Suzuki Institute Belgium (TESIB)
– British Suzuki Institute (BSI)
– Croatian Suzuki Centre
– Danish Suzuki Association
– Estonian Suzuki Association
– Faroe Islands Suzuki Association
– Finnish Suzuki Association
– Association Française Pédagogie Suzuki (AFPS)
– German Suzuki Association
– Greek Suzuki Association
– Hungarian Suzuki Association
– Icelandic Suzuki Association
– Suzuki Education Institute of Ireland (SEIi)
– Italian Suzuki Association
– Lithuanian Suzuki Association
– Suzuki Association of the Netherlands (SVN)
– Norwegian Suzuki Association
– Polish Suzuki Association
– South African Suzuki Association
– Spanish Suzuki Institute
– Suzuki Institut der Schweiz
– Swedish Suzuki Association
– Turkish Suzuki Association
During the 6th International Conference in Japan in 1983 the parent organisation of all Suzuki associations, the “International Suzuki Association” (ISA) was set up.
Their members are: