Skip to content

B.C. violin virtuoso honoured to perform at coronation of King Charles III

Tetsuumi Nagata was one of three violists at Westminster Abbey for last year’s occasion
Nagata, far left, with the entire Coronation Orchestra that performed at Westminster Abbey on May 6, 2023, for the crowning of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. (Submitted photo)

A B.C.-born violinist is honoured to have played for royalty.

Tetsuumi Nagata of Nanaimo was selected to be one of 34 members from leading orchestras in the U.K. and Canada to perform in the Coronation Orchestra for the crowning of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on May 6, 2023, at Westminster Abbey.

For his part in the coronation, Nagata received a King Charles III Coronation Medal this spring.

The orchestra, as conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano, included musicians drawn from orchestras patroned by the king such as the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Opera House, Canada’s Regina Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

“It was such a huge honour to be a part of this special group of musicians and performing for the likes of the entire royal family and Prime Minister Trudeau,” Nagata said in an e-mail.

The violinist started his musical career at five years old with lessons from the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music. He made his debut at 11 years old as a soloist with the Vancouver Island Symphony, playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Since, he’s returned to the symphony several times – the last being approximately 10 years ago when he performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with then maestro Pierre Simard.

When he was 12, Nagata moved to England to study at Yehudi Menuhin School, a private boarding school for skilled musicians.

The violinist, who holds a master of performance degree from London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama and who is now a member of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, was one of three viola players at the coronation. He said last year’s event brought gravitas to Westminster Abbey and is something he’ll remember for a lifetime.

During the event, the orchestra started as delegates and guests arrived and continued throughout the ceremony, playing commissions by some of U.K.’s most celebrated composers. Nagata said the organ loft where they performed had limited space and he found himself surrounded by a percussionist and trombonists, which was unusual compared to a full orchestral setting.

He said maestro Pappano navigated the orchestra together with the choir, which was downstairs, and the brass band, which was on the other side of the organ, along with the organist.

“Did I mention all the camera crew who were bunched up with us for the worldwide television broadcast?” Nagata said. “All in all, it was a long but very fulfilling morning. I received so many messages from family and friends from all over the world who tuned in to watch.”

READ MORE: Violinist excited to be back

Tetsuumi Nagata, right, with fellow BBC National Orchestra of Wales musicians, Steve Hudson and Juan Gonzalez. (Submitted photo)

Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
Read more