Photo by Jeffrey Schwarz
To begin the 1986-87 Season Music From Japan presented three concerts (December 20th, January 24th, and February 21st) at the Asia Society, each of which highlighted compositions for a specific instrument: “The Virtuoso Violin,” “The Beauty of the Flute,” and “An Evening of Sho.” “The Virtuoso Violin” featured contemporary violin pieces performed by Koichiro Harada and Asako Urushihara; “The Beauty of the Flute” featured Harvey Sollberger performing contemporary Japanese and American works for flute; and “An Evening of Sho” was a sho (Japanese mouth organ) recital featuring Mayumi Miyata performing traditional Japanese, contemporary Japanese and American works. Ms. Miyata’s performance was favorably reviewed by the New York Times, especially in her interpretation of Kimi Sato’s piece Suisho Ingetsu: “A thirteen-minute meditation for solo sho, it was built naturally on breath patterns, notes fading in and out into chords that merge and dissipate like heavy clouds. The effect was ethereally lovely and not altogether of this world.”
To follow up the program “An Evening of Sho,” Music From Japan hosted two symposia at the Asia Society: “Modern Music Education” on the 21st, and “Handing Down the Tradition” on the 21st. Composer Makoto Moroi lectured on “Modern Music Education;” a discussion followed. For “Handing Down the Tradition” Mayumi Miyata, Ralph Samuelson, and Reiko Kamata gave demonstrations on their instruments and lectured about their music. A panel discussion and question and answer session with the attendees followed.
Finally, on March 14th, 1987, Music From Japan presented its first mixed media concert, featuring a collaboration between four eminent artists: Ushio Torikai (composition, performance), Tetsu Maeda (designer), Blondell Cummings (choreography), and Christine Wright (dance).