Bard News & Events

Press Release


Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Monday, February 10, the Japanese Program, the Japan Club, and Bard in China will present a 25-string koto recital by celebrated Japanese musician Keiko Nosaka. The concert is part of the Music from Japan Festival 2003 presented in association with the Japan Federation of Composers and with funding from the Freeman Undergraduate Asian Studies Initiative and the Henry R. Luce Foundation. The program is free and open to the public and takes place at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center.

Nosaka, an innovator in playing and composing for the koto, developed the 25-string koto to complement contemporary music and has premiered 48 works written especially for the instrument. She will perform works specially commissioned from young Japanese composers for the Music from Japan Festival 2003, along with pieces by her long-time collaborator, Akira Ifukube, the renowned elder statesman of Japanese composition, and her own works as well. She will be accompanied by master koto player Mizuyo Komiya and, in a composition by Mica Nozawa, by Tom Kolor on percussion and Bard's resident Colorado Quartet violinists, Deborah Redding and Julie Rosenfeld.

The koto is frequently acknowledged as the most popular and representative of traditional Japanese instruments. Its origins have been traced to China, as early as 5th Century B.C.E., where it had but five strings. It evolved into a 13-string instrument in Japan by the 8th century. In an effort to expand the koto repertoire in the contemporary music field, Nosaka developed a 20-string version more than 30 years ago. In 1991 she played her most innovative koto, with 25 strings, for the first time. During the 2003 tour, audiences will be able to hear her play this ethereal instrument and experience some of the talent that won her the 1992 Matsuo Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts and the Minister of Education Award for Arts in 2002.

Keiko Nosaka graduated from the Department of Japanese Music at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music, where she also did postgraduate work. By 1965, she held her first solo recital and joined Pro Musica Nipponia, in which she was an active member for 17 years. Nosaka was awarded the Arts Festival Encouragement Award for her second recital, for which she introduced the 20-string koto she developed in 1969. An invitation to perform at the 1973 Menuhin Festival in Switzerland led to a series of 15 recitals in Europe and United States; the program included selections from the traditional repertoire and new works by Minoru Miki. She returned to Europe in 1981 for a series of seven recitals in Spain, Holland, Belgium and East Germany. From 1986 to 1989, Nosaka gave 150 concerts throughout Japan in association with the theater group Jian-Jian. In 1994, she began studying with the composer Akira Ifukube, leading to increased collaboration between the two artists. Her lecture series, which began in 1998, is held five times a year under the title "Keiko Nosaka Lectures: Listening to the Masters." She is currently a member of the board of the Ikuta-school Association and head of the jiuta-sôkyoku group, Matsu no Mi Kai.

Music From Japan, founded in 1975, is the leading presenter of Japanese contemporary and traditional music in the United States. The organization has toured throughout North and South America, Central Asia, and Japan. It has introduced nearly 400 works, including 41 world premieres and 31 self-commissions. After presenting such prominent composers as Toru Takemitsu and Shin'ichiro Ikebe in the Featured Composers Series, Music From Japan is focusing on the next generation for Festival 2003.

For further information about the concert or Bard in China, call 845-758-7388 or e-mail

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This event was last updated on 01-22-2003