Afterimage: 19th and 21st Century Masterpieces for Silk and Bamboo [03/17]

Mar Creation and Shakuhachi Hermit Present
Afterimage: 19th and 21st Century Masterpieces for Silk and Bamboo


Music for traditional Japanese instruments featuring:
Yoko Reikano Kimura, koto, shamisen, voice
Sumie Kaneko, shamisen, voice
Elizabeth Brown, shakuhachi
Ralph Samuelson, shakuhachi

[Date/Time] Thursday, March 17, 7:30 PM
[Venue] Clearlight Performance Space at The Blue Building
[Address] 222 E. 46th St. (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues), NY 10017
[Tickets] $20. Purchase in advance at or at the door
This program is partially funded by a grant from CUPA/CATCH US Performing Art.

Live music is back! Four outstanding and influential performers of Japanese music offer this special concert highlighting an arc of brilliant compositions ranging from the golden classical era of Edo Period Japan to the vibrant contemporary musical life of New York. Two masterworks of Yamada Kengyō (1757-1815), founder of the Yamada School of koto and one of the most revered composers of classical Japanese music, will be paired with two magnificent contemporary works by New York composers Ned Rothenberg and Elizabeth Brown.

The rich tradition of Japanese music already has a long presence in the United States and the shakuhachi (bamboo flute), shamisen (plucked lute), and koto (long zither) have today found their place in the global musical world. The artists of Afterimage are rooted in tradition yet are active seekers of new voices for our current time.

Yoko Reikano Kimura is one of the most captivating artists of the koto and shamisen, praised by critics for her musical elegance and versatile repertoire. Based in New York and Japan, she has concertized in major venues around the world and is admired for her authoritative interpretation of the classics and her passionate advocacy of new music. Sumie Kaneko, also a master of the traditional repertoire, is well known for her innovative work in jazz and experimental music. In addition, her exciting collaborations with prominent artists in music and other fields have been heralded by audiences and critics alike. Elizabeth Brown leads a diverse musical life as a stellar performer of shakuhachi, flute, and theremin and is also an award-winning composer. Her shakuhachi performances have garnered great praise in the US and Japan, and her rich body of chamber music includes an extensive repertoire for Japanese traditional instruments. Ralph Samuelson has been a major force in the blossoming of shakuhachi music in America and has performed and taught throughout the U.S., Japan, and Asia.

The great compositions of Yamada Kengyō, until recently rarely performed in the U.S., are known for their lyrical, narrative song texts and require a special vocal dexterity at which Ms. Kimura and Ms. Kaneko excel. They are often performed in a chamber ensemble known as sankyoku (three Instruments) featuring koto, shamisen, and shakuhachi. The Afterimage concert program will include two of Yamada Kengyo’s greatest works, Yuya, based on the Noh play of the same name with a story derived from the medieval epic Tale of Heike; and Sakuragari (“Cherry Blossom Viewing”), a virtuosic piece popular for its exciting instrumental interludes. Both pieces evoke the coming season of spring. Ned Rothenberg’s Naki Tokoro Ni Te (“Where There is Neither”) for shakuhachi and shamisen draws on and expands the dynamic interplay of the traditional sankyoku ensemble and is inspired by the tanka poetry of Toki Zenmaro (“where there is neither a stone nor a bamboo, I wish to hear the sound of a stone hitting a bamboo”). Elizabeth Brown’s Afterimage, also for shakuhachi and shamisen, takes its cue from a visual scene and its afterimage as experienced by the composer in the Grand Canyon and expresses the duality of quietude and anxiety.

The shakuhachi, shamisen, and koto—like many musical instruments in Asia– are handcrafted from organic materials such as bamboo, silk, wood, and lacquer. They are particularly sensitive to their surroundings and were intended for performance in intimate spaces. The Clearlight Performance Space at The Blue Building offers an ideal acoustic environment in which to appreciate their nuanced elegance as expressed through music old and new.

Please note the Covid-19 policy for this event:
Certification of Covid-19 vaccination (two or more doses), with matching photo ID, is required for entry. Valid forms of certification include vaccination card, NYS Excelsior Pass, and NYC COVID Safe app. All guests must wear a face mask.

Hiroshi Kono | contact[at] | Mar Creation, Inc.

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