Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Music of Japan Festival 2011: "Classical Music: Japanese Spirit and Song"

Time: Wednesday, February 16th @ 7:30 pm
Price: Free. Tickets required.
Location: Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art, Jefferson and 12th Street SW, near the Smithsonian Castle
Metro Access: Smithsonian Station (Blue/Orange)
Featuring artists: Keiko Aoyama, mezzo soprano; Elizabeth Brown: shakuhachi and flute; Kohei Nishikawa, nohkan, shinobue, and flute; Yoshio Tsukada, piano

Music From Japan, now in its 36th season, joins the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art to present an evening of Japanese song and music for flutes at the Freer's Meyer Auditorium on Wednesday, February 16. The concert showcases the talents of leading exponents of both traditional and contemporary music, including Washington premieres of two Music From Japan commissions. "Classical Music: Japanese Spirit and Song" explores flute music from the East and the West, as well as celebrating Japan's enduring song-setting tradition.

The evening program features Kohei Nishikawa and Elizabeth Brown performing new and traditional music for Western classical flute and three kinds of Japanese flute: the nohkan, shinobue, and shakuhachi. The program presents works from the traditional to the contemporary, includingthe DC premiere of a new Music From Japan commission from Elizabeth Brown herself. A recent Guggenheim Fellow, Brown worked closely with Nishikawa to create the new work, an antiphonal duet for nohkan and shakuhachi entitled fragments for the moon (2010).

This year's festival also marks the first time Music From Japan has programmed a vocalist as featured artist. Mezzo-soprano Keiko Aoyama performs settings of traditional folk songs, of songs with traditional Japanese sonorities, and settings of poems by Hakushu Kitahara (1885-1942), including two by Kosaku Yamada, a student of Max Bruch. Aoyama is joined by Kohei Nishikawa on nohkan in the DC premiere performance of Norio Fukushi's Night of the Full Moon (2011), which is based on the oldest surviving tale in the Japanese language, Taketori Monogatari(Tale of the Bamboo Cutter).

Up to 4 tickets per person can be reserved (service fee $2.75 per ticket and $1.25 per order) beginning Feb 7. Contact Ticketmaster: (202) 397-7328, (410) 547-7328, or (703) 573-7328, or at

Two tickets per person are also distributed (no service fee) at auditorium beginning one hour before show-time; first-come, first-served.

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