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Music From Japan 2009

Music From Japan and its Artistic Director, Naoyuki Miura, are pleased to
present Festival 2009, with two contrasting
programs to showcase the shamisen, a
three-stringed banjo-like instrument long associated with Kabuki theatre and
other cultural art forms.  These
programs will feature traditional music alongside world premieres of new Music
From Japan commissions.  Festival New
York opens with Masters of Tradition: Mojibei Tokiwazu V and his shamisen
onSaturday, March 7. 
On the following day, Sunday, March 8, pioneering violinist/composer Mari
curates Tradition/E-novation: shamisen,
violin, voice and computer


In addition to New York City’s
Merkin Concert Hall, the Festival will travel to Mahopac, NY (March 5), Annandale-on-Hudson,
(March 10 and 11), Washington, D.C. (March 13), and Murfreesboro,
(March 15).



Masters of Tradition: Mojibei Tokiwazu V and his
shamisen quartet

On Saturday, March 7 at 8pm in Merkin Concert
Hall, Mojibei Tokiwazu V brings
traditional Tokiwazu-style shamisen to New York, along with newly commissioned
music for his shamisen quartet.  The name
“Tokiwazu” refers to a narrative style of music associated with Kabuki theatre
since the 18th century in which the musicians perform on stage to
accompany the dance sections. 
Fifth in a line of leading Kabuki musicians, Mojibei Tokiwazu V comes
from this long tradition of Tokiwazu players.  With his quartet, he will introduce different styles of
shamisen music, using a variety of instruments: he will perform on chuzao shamisen, Taku
Taguchi-Touon on hosozao shamisen, Ichiro Takabatake on jiuta shamisen, and Sansuzu
Tsuruzawa on futozao shamisen. 
In addition to traditional music, the ensemble will perform works by
Mojibei Tokiwazu V and his father, Eiju Tokiwazu (Mojibei Tokiwazu IV), and
will premiere Kumiko Omura’s piece for shamisen quartet, Dance of Spirits, which was
commissioned by Music From Japan for this year’s festival.  The concert will be preceded by a lecture
at 7pm
by Mr. Tokiwazu,entitled: “Shamisen – from
traditional Kabuki to current experiments”.


shamisen, violin, voice and computer

On Sunday, March 8 at 2pm in Merkin Concert Hall, Music From
Japan is proud to present four world premieres, all of which exploit two of
Japan’s greatest resources: tradition and technological innovation.  These works integrate state-of-the-art
computer technology with traditional writing for shamisen and/or violin, and
the four new works, by Tomomi Adachi,
Takayuki Rai, Mari Takano, and Mari Kimura respectively, were commissioned
by Music From Japan for Festival 2009. 
The program is curated by Mari Kimura, a violinist and composer internationally recognized for her pioneering
work.  She performs on violin,
alongside shamisen artist Mojibei Tokiwazu V and performer/composer Tomomi
Adachi on voice and electronics.  After the
concert on March 8, the audience will have an opportunity to ask Ms. Kimura and
the other commissioned composers questions about their work.


For more information, please visit


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 February 16, 2009

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