The new work, commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra and the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, was premiered in March 2023 at the Philharmonie Berlin.
When asked about his inspiration for the piece, Toshio Hosokawa refers to the many Buddha statues made of stone and wood that one sees in Japan, not only in temples but often also at the side of the road. They "have been carefully watched over and preserved by people for a long time", he explains.
"I wonder if my musical works could have the same 'prayer' as the Buddha statues created by these unknown sculptors. I believe that music has its origins in shamanistic festivals and that the prayer songs of the shamans are fundamental. In this violin concerto, too, I see the soloist as the shaman and the orchestra in the background as the cosmos, nature, which extends within and beyond the shaman."
The violin concerto is dedicated to the soloist of the premiere. „Daishin Kashimoto, who plays the violin, looks to me like a 'praying man'", says Toshio Hosokawa.
Following the premiere in Berlin, Prayer celebrated its Swiss premiere with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra under Michael Sanderling at the KKL Lucerne in June.