Music From Japan
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Composers

Tomoko Hojo

Tomoko Hojo (photo by David Toop)

Tomoko Hojo (featured and commissioned composer)

TOMOKO HOJO is a Sound Artist based in Japan. She listens to the hidden voices of history and makes them audible in different ways.

Tomoko Hojo is an artist working within the fluidities between Sound, Music and Performance. Recently she has been developing projects around Yoko Ono in Tokyo and London, based upon the theme that makes (women’s) silenced voices audible. As well as solo activities, she has an ongoing collaborative project with Swiss sound artist Rahel Kraft. Their projects seek hidden, faint and intimate sounds, which are often inaudible in the relationship between people and place. She also co-ordinates and performs as part of Tokyo based Ensemble for Experimental Music and Theater, which explores questions around theatre and notation propounded by John Cage. She has written about the pre-history of Sound Art in Japan from 1950s to 1970s, focusing on exhibited sound works created by artists whose backgrounds were in music. Her writing has been published in the book After Musicking, edited by Yoshitaka Mōri and published in 2017.

She has completed two Masters’s degrees, in Sound Arts at the London College of Communication in 2016 and in Creativity of Arts and the Environment at Tokyo University of the Arts in 2015. She was an Overseas Research Fellow supported by Pola Art Foundation in 2017-2018 and lived in London as a visiting researcher of CRiSAP, a Sound Art Research Institution at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. She also received a fellowship in New York by Asian Cultural Council in 2019.

Recent major projects include: ‘Sotto Voce’, Solo Exhibition [Tokyo Arts and Space Hongo, Tokyo, 2019], ‘Grass Eater Dairy’, Audiowalk [as Hojo+Kraft, Nakanojo Biennale, Gunma, 2019], ‘My Place/My Sound’, Performance, [as Hojo+Kraft, Kyoto Art Center, Kyoto, 2019], ‘Shinonome’, Audiowalk, [as Hojo+Kraft, ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2019], ‘Lost and Found’, Solo Exhibition [Kotolňa, Kosice, Slovakia, 2018], ‘Unfinished Descriptions’, Solo Exhibition and Performance [Hundred Years Gallery, London, 2019].

Kazuya Ishigami

Kazuya Ishigami

Kazuya Ishigami (featured and commissioned composer)

KAZUYA ISHIGAMI (b. 1972, Osaka/JAPAN) is a composer, sound designer, sound performer and sound engineer in the field of Electro-acoustic/Acousmatic/Post-Acousmatic/Ambient/Noise, etc. He received his B.A. in Music Engineering from Osaka University of Arts and his M.A. in Urban Informatics from Osaka City University. He began playing with the tape recorder and making cut-up and collage works in early childhood.

From 1990 to 1994, he studied musique concrete and electronic music at Osaka University of Arts Music Department Music Engineering course. Since 1992 he has created under the name of DARUIN. He began using computers for composition and improvisation in 1994 with the programming language Max/MSP and others.

His pieces have been performed at DR (Deutschland Radio/Germany),WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk/Germany), CCMC (Japan), JSEM (Japan), FUTURA (France), MUSLAB (Mexico), SR (Radio Saarbruecken/Germany), HR (Hessischer Rundfunk/Germany), ISCM (Stuttgart/Germany), Spark (USA), NICOGRAPH (Japan), SILENCE (Italy), VII International FKL-Symposium (Italy), ICMC (2015_USA/TEXAS), among others. He has an independent label, NEUS-318, and has released more than 100 works.

Performers

Ned Rothenberg (photo by Lois Ellison)

Ned Rothenberg, alto saxophone, bass clarinet, shakuhachi

Composer/Performer Ned Rothenberg has been internationally acclaimed for his solo and ensemble music, presented for the past 35 years on 5 continents.  He performs primarily on  alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, and the shakuhachi, which he studied in Japan with the great masters, Goro Yamaguchi and Katsuya Yokoyama.  His solo work utilizes an expanded palette of sonic language, creating a kind of personal idiom all its own.  In 2015, Music From Japan commissioned his composition Unkai for sho, geomungo and pipa, presenting it in New York City, Tokyo and Fukushima.  Rothenberg leads the trio Sync, with Jerome Harris, guitars and Samir Chatterjee, tabla, and works with the Mivos string quartet playing his Quintet for Clarinet and Strings and Liaison  with the quartet and shakuhachi.  As an improvisor he collaborates around the world with fellow practitioners including John Zorn, Sainkho Namtchylak, Masahiko Satoh, Otomo Yoshihide, Yumiko Tanaka, Evan Parker and Sylvie Courvoisier.  Recordings include the clarinet quintet, The World of Odd Harmonics (solo clarinet works), Ryu Nashi (new music for shakuhachi), and Inner Diaspora, all on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, as well as Live at Roulette with Evan Parker,  and The Fell Clutch, on Rothenberg’s Animul label.

Sergey Kasich

Sergey Kasich, objects

Is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and producer with focus in sound arts, technological media and music. Graduated as a Psychology major in 2006 from Lomonosov’s MSU, he was involved in postgraduate research in behavioral genetics and psychodiagnostics until 2010, while at the same time being a permanent resident at a studio for electronic music at the Theremin Center of Moscow State Conservatory. For 2012-2013 he joined an international research program at STRELKA institute for media, architecture and design to study urban data collection and processing and D.I.Y. and “hacker\maker” culture around the world. In 2011 he initiated SoundArtist.ru (a.k.a. SA)) ) – the Russian sound arts community. And later in 2014 he founded Moscow Sound Art Gallery SA))_gallery and Moscow Sound Art Studio SA))_studio. From 2011 until 2018 he has lectured in Rodchenko’s Art School in Moscow on the topic of technologic basics of interactive arts. Kasich curates and produces critically acclaimed events and projects supported by residents of SA)) which include: an annual festival, exhibitions and international showcases. Since 2008 kasich’s artistic practice has focused on interactive and generative sound and multimedia art installations, performances and mixed media projects. Kasich also works as a composer and sound-producer across a broad spectrum of the performing arts from theatrical productions and performances to pop-music.

Aimée Niemann (photo by Tayla Nebesky)

Aimée Niemann, violin

Aimée Niemann is a performer, improviser, and educator. She investigates sound through its direct correlation to movement and composes graphic scores as a means of interdisciplinary invention and the unearthing of new sounds. Her work appears in the contexts of new and improvised music, as well as experimental movement and theatre. Niemann’s violin duo, Du.0 with Charlotte Munn-Wood premiered two new works in 2020 by composers Leah Asher and Scott Wollschleger. She is currently working with choreographer Nadia Khayrallah on a premier of baroque influenced solo improvisations, with dancers Whitney Janis and Abby Marchesseault.

Abby Swidler (photo by Shravya Kag)

Abby Swidler, violin

Abby Swidler is a composer, violinist, violist, and vocalist whose work appears in many contexts including new music, improvisational music, and song.

Abby is a passionate collaborator, frequently performing with ruby, a song collaboration with Kim Mayo; Xanthoria Quartet, a string quartet which performs new and old works; Italian film-score band, Tredici BacciThe Jessica Pavone String Ensemble; and the NYC chamber orchestra, Shattered Glass; among other projects across genre lines.

As a composer and performer, Abby has collaborated with dance, film, theater, and performing ensembles; working with artists like Lady Lamb, Carla Kihlstedt, Mirah, Kishi Bashi, Jherek Bischoff, Angel Olsen, Anthony Coleman, Bent Knee, The California Guitar Trio, Shizuka Viola Duo, Palaver, Dance Visions INC., and Giselle Ty.   She has played on over 30 studio albums.

Abby received a B.M. in Violin Performance from Eastman School of Music and an M.M. in Contemporary Improvisation from The New England Conservatory.  Originally from Missoula, MT, she currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Joanna Mattrey

Joanna Mattrey, viola

Joanna Mattrey is a violist working in free improvisation, new music, and classical music. She uses extended techniques, modern compositional approaches, and electronic alterations to challenge the conventions of the viola. Drawing on her training in bodywork, Mattrey creates an embodied performance practice centered on ceremony and ritual.

Upcoming 2021 releases are for Relative Pitch Records, Notice Recordings, Tripticks Tapes, Dear Life Recs, and NNA Tapes.

Festivals include Newport Jazz Festival, NYC Winter Jazz Fest, Lima Jazz Festival*, SxSW, New Ear Festival. Residencies include ISSUE Project Room, Banff’s Composition Lab, Wild Project, 14th St Y, MoMa PS1’s ALLGOLD, and The Floor.*

*postponed due to Covid

Aliya Ultan

Aliya Ultan, cello

Aliya Ultan is a cellist, singer-songwriter, composer/improviser, and filmmaker from Brooklyn, NY. Often combining inventive techniques on the cello with dark and wonderous lyrics, Aliya’s sound is intoxicating and addictive yet healing in its catharsis. As a composer-performer, Ultan has worked with the International Contemporary Music Ensemble, the New York Philharmonic, Splinter Reeds, Eighth Blackbird, and Splice among others. With a deep passion for storytelling, Ultan continues to collaborate with circus performers, dancers, free improvisers, and filmmakers across the east coast, midwest, and Canada in her efforts to produce multimedia shows for all ages.