Denison Museum Presents Performance by Celebrated Japanese Music Ensemble
Date of Event: October 16, 2007
Posted: October 4, 2007 / Last Updated: October 5, 2007
The Denison Museum continues to explore ancient Japanese traditions in connection with the current exhibition of prints by the Meiji period woodblock artist Yoshu Chikanobu. A Japanese Music Concert performed by world-renowned ensemble members Michael Gould, Chieko Iwazaki, and Kuniyasu Iwazaki is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday (Oct. 16) at the Denison Museum in Burke Hall. The performance showcases three early Japanese instruments: the 13- and 17-string koto, the shamisen, and the shakuhachi.
The musicians will play traditional and modern ensemble pieces, as well as solo pieces on each instrument. The concert complements the current exhibition Chikanobu: Modernity and Nostalgia in Japanese Prints, which is open through Oct. 28. The Denison Museum is free and open to the public daily from 1 to 4 p.m.
This concert explores the traditional Japanese ensemble know as Sankyoku music, which formed in the late 1800s, by joining the shakuhachi, the shamisen, and the koto. The shakuhachi, also known as the Zen bamboo flute of Japan, is a five-holed, end-blown flute made of bamboo. More than merely a musical instrument, the history of the shakuhachi lies in chanting and meditation, as this instrument is more a tool for spiritual training.
The shamisen is a three-stringed, banjo-like instrument that is made out of Chinese oak with a neck of Indian red sandalwood. Plucked with an ivory plectrum, this instrument creates a trailing sound caused by the vibrations of other strings and is generally accompanied with voice.
The koto was developed in the 1600s, and has a history that leads back to Buddhism as well. A 13- or 17-stringed zither-like instrument made from a thick piece of paulownia wood, it incorporates the use of bridges to tune the strings to specific pitches.
Performers Michael Gould, Chieko Iwazaki, and Kuniyasu Iwazaki have each received extensive education and musical training in order to acquire expert status on these musical instruments that date as far back as seventh-century Japan. Gould, a former resident of Japan, studied the shakuhachi under renowned masters Taniguchi Yoshinobu and Yokoyama Katsuya. Earning the acclaimed "Shihan" title, which translates to "Master of Shakuhachi," as well as the title "Dai Shihan," which translates to "Grand Master of Shakuhachi," Gould is one of the most prolific performers outside of Japan.
Chieko and Kuniyasu Iwazaki have performed concerts all over Japan and the United States. Chieko began her studies of the koto at the age of 10 and later began studying at the Ikuta School of Koto under renowned master teachers Hayashi Kimiko and Kurabe Hanuko. Since then, she has earned her teaching qualifications for both the koto and shamisen. Kuniyasu began the study of shakuhachi under Fujiwara Odo in the city of Kyoto, Japan. Earning the rank of "Shihan," in 1997, he began his professional career specializing in the ensemble performance of Sankyoku.
This performance and the Chikanobu exhibit at the Denison Museum focus on Japanese culture and history. The Denison Museum is dedicated to providing students, faculty, and staff of the University, as well as the wider community, with a first-hand cultural experience. An on-going program of lectures, symposia, visiting artists, gallery tours, and other events is available.
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CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville -- A Japanese Music Concert performed by Michael Gould, Chieko Iwazaki, and Kuniyasu Iwazaki; 7 p.m., Tuesday (Oct. 16), Denison Museum (240 West Broadway). Free and open to the public. Contact (740) 587-6255 to confirm information.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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