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Highly Acclaimed Music from Japan Festival 2009 to Give Free Concert at Bard College on Tuesday, March 10

Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Tuesday, March 10, Music from Japan—the leading presenter of Japanese traditional and contemporary music in the United States—will give a free concert at Bard College as part of its 2009 American tour. The concert, “Tradition/E-novation: Shamisen, Violin, Voice, and Computer,” integrates state-of-the-art computer technology with traditional writing for shamisen and/or violin, and features four new works (by Tomomi Adachi, Takayuki Rai, Mari Takano, and Mari Kimura) that were commissioned by the Music from Japan 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. The concert is sponsored by the Bard Japanese and Electronic Music programs and the Henry Cowell Experimental Music Fund. It is free and open to the public and takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center. A preconcert lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information about the concert, please call 845-758-7388 or e-mail In addition, there will be a lecture and performance by performer/composer Tomomi Adachi on Wednesday, March 11, at 1:30 p.m. in Blum Hall in the Milton and Sally Avery Center for the Arts.

The shamisen is a three-stringed member of the lute family, with a skin-covered sound box and a slim, unfretted neck. Characterized by its buzzing resonance, or sawari, the shamisen is played with a plectrum called a bachi, which is often used to strike the strings and skin for percussive effect. The instrument was introduced to Japan in the 1560s, and its origins can be traced back through China and Iran (then Persia) to ancient Egypt. Different kinds of shamisen are associated with particular musical styles. Tokiwazu, Nagauta, and Kiyomoto shamisen developed to accompany dance in Kabuki theatre.

Music from Japan has enriched the cultural life of New York and other cities by bringing Japanese performers, composers, and educational programs to U.S. audiences. Since 1975, founding Artistic Director Naoyuki Miura has been responsible for presenting close to 400 works by Japanese composers, including 48 commissions by the organization and 59 world premieres. In 1994, Music from Japan established the Resource Center for Japanese Music, including the Japanese Composer Database, which is available through MFJ’s web site at

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This event was last updated on 03-10-2009