CHAMBER MUSIC MEETS JAPANESE INSTRUMENTS
IN KAMMERRAKU® AT THE WORLD FINANCIAL CENTER WINTER GARDEN
New York, NY –
Two timeless musical traditions will come together at the World Financial Center Winter Garden next month in Kammerraku®
, a program of new chamber music compositions combining the classic string quartet with Japanese instruments to create a stunning new musical experience.
Saturday, May 5, 7:30 pm
Cost: FREE – No tickets or reservations required
On May 5th, the Voxare String Quartet will be joined by three traditional Japanese music virtuosos for a performance of four new compositions commissioned by Kyo-Shin-An Arts. Kammerraku® (literally chamber music: kammer from the German and raku from the Japanese) is a program of Kyo-Shin-An Arts, an organization dedicated to the integration of Japanese instruments into Western classical music.
Showcasing composers and performers from both cultural backgrounds, the evening will feature two world premieres and one New York premiere of works commissioned by Kyo-Shin-An Arts. The lineup includes:
- Koto Concerto: Genji – Written by American composer Daron Hagen, a well-known figure in the opera world, this operatic work for koto and quartet is based on an 11th-century Japanese tale about a man who falls in love with a koto player whose face he’s never seen.
- Shakuhachi Quintet (New York Premiere) – Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer
Paul Moravec wrote this chamber concerto for shakuhachi and quartet. The piece’s third movement is based on a six-note melody, C-D-G-A-E-F, spelled out in “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” making it the world’s first shakuhachi-Shakespeare mashup.
- String Journey (World Premiere) – James Nyoraku Schlefer’s musical tale of a samurai who becomes a wandering minstrel is written for shamisen and quartet. Schlefer, an American, is one of only a few non-Japanese artists to have achieved the rank of Grand Master on the shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute.
- KyoShin (World Premiere) – Japanese composer Somei Satoh’s ruminative sextet for koto, shakuhachi, and quartet uses repetition and silence to create a calming and compelling soundscape.
The program will showcase New York City’s acclaimed Voxare String Quartet, which has been winning critical accolades for its inventive repertoire, groundbreaking arrangements, and passionate performances since its founding in 2008. The group won Chamber Music America’s 2010 ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, and has been featured live on WNYC’s Soundcheck.
Japanese instrumentalists include Nami Kineie on the shamisen, a plucked three-stringed instrument. Kineie is a world-renowned member of Japan’s celebrated ensemble Pro Musica Nipponia. The twenty-string koto will be played by Yumi Kurosawa, a Japanese native who now lives in New York City and has performed at Apollo Sound Stage, Joe’s Pub, the Japan Society, Roulette, The Juilliard School, WNYC Radio, and Weill Recital Hall. Schlefer will perform on the shakuhachi.
“Kammerraku embodies the same diversity and cross-pollination that’s always made New York City a creative hothouse,” said Debra Simon, V.P. and Artistic Director of Arts Brookfield. “We’re proud to be partnering with Kyo-Shin-An Arts to present audiences with a program of gorgeous music that’s at once both startlingly original and deeply rooted in timeless traditions.”
About Arts Brookfield
Since 1988 more than 3.5 million people have enjoyed over 2,500 cultural events at the World Financial Center presented by Arts Brookfield, one of the largest free, year-round, privately funded performing and visual arts programs on the east coast.
As an initiative of Brookfield Office Properties, the owner, developer and manager of premier office properties in the United States, Canada and Australia, Arts Brookfield animates public spaces in major cities across North America including New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Toronto. Brookfield’s portfolio is comprised of interests in 110 properties totaling 78 million square feet in the downtown cores of New York, Washington, D.C., Houston, Los Angeles, Denver, Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, making it the global leader in the ownership and management of office assets.
Kyo-Shin-An Arts was founded in 2008 to create and promote new music integrating Japanese instruments – specifically koto, shakuhachi, and shamisen – into Western classical music. With an initial purpose of commissioning established composers, KSA immediately began forming partnerships with ensembles interested in this repertoire. These partnerships are at the core of the organization’s operations, providing consistent access to Western classical musicians while KSA facilitates performances and provides players of traditional Japanese instruments. Current partners include the Orchestra of the Swan in the UK, the Colorado String Quartet, the Voxare Quartet, and beginning in 2012-13, the Arianna Quartet in St. Louis, the Ciompi Quartet in Durham, NC, and the Euclid Quartet in South Bend, IN. Commissioned composers to date include Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Daron Hagen, Paul Moravec, Somei Satoh, James Nyoraku Schlefer, and coming next, Benjamin Verdery and James Matheson. www.kyoshinan.org
Major funding for Kammerraku® was provided by the Japan Foundation, Meet the Composer Commissioning Music USA, and the TD Charitable Foundation.