The Gagaku-Hōgaku Classical Japanese Music Curriculum and Performance Program was launched in September 2006 in the Music Department at Columbia University. Including both an Asian Music Humanities class on the history of gagaku music and an ensemble performance class, the 2006-2007 program established the groundwork for the first permanent gagaku training program outside of Japan. The courses and ensemble class, in which students received private lessons on at least one type of gagaku wind or string instrument, were taught by Professor Naoko Terauchi of Kobe University, envoy of Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs and Visiting Professor at Columbia University for the 2006-2007 academic year. Students also participated in Master Classes with visiting gagaku musicians from Japan, receiving critical training for the program’s aim to form New York’s first gagaku ensemble. In the summer of 2007, the Gagaku Program launched the Mentor/Protégé Summer Initiative, in which four students from the Columbia Gagaku Program were provided grants to participate in a six-week intensive training program in Tokyo.
Through this pioneering program, it is our hope to make it possible for young musicians to experience this Japanese tradition deeply and to master one or more of its instruments. It is also our hope to inspire the commissioning of new compositions by and for these young musicians, thereby greatly influencing the future direction of world music.
It is also our aim to introduce Japan’s musical traditions to greater audiences in the Columbia University and New York communities. In collaboration with Gagaku artists from Japan, the Program sponsors concerts, individual lessons and master classes.
Elizabeth Brown combines a composing career with a diverse performing life, playing flute, shakuhachi, and theremin in a wide variety of musical circles. Her music has been heard in Japan, the Soviet Union, Colombia, Australia, South Africa and Vietnam and across the US and Europe, and includes many compositions for traditional Japanese instruments. Since winning grand prize in the Makino Yutaka Composition Competition and a prize in the Senzoku Gakuen Shakuhachi Composition Competition, her music has been performed in Japan by Pro Musica Nipponia, Reigakusha, and Orchestra Asia, and at shakuhachi festivals in London, Kyoto, Prague, Sydney, and New York City. A Juilliard graduate and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, Brown has received grants, awards and commissions from the Asian Cultural Council, Japan/US Friendship Commission, Japan Foundation, Music from Japan, Orpheus, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Bellagio, MacDowell, NewMusicUSA, NYSCA, and NYFA. Elizabeth Brown: Mirage is available from New World Records.
Yumi Kurosawa won first prize at the National Koto Competition in ‘89 and ‘92, and received a fellowship from the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan. Ms.Kurosawa moved to NYC, and performed at Carnegie Hall and premiered Daron Hagen’s Koto concerto Genji with both Orchestra of the Swan, UK, and Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed as a principal soloist for Suntory Hall’s opening gala with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. She was guest artist for Japanese Connection at Kennedy Center and at National Gallery of Art Concert series. She received a music residency at Pioneerworks NYC and was invited to the 30th anniversary of Australia Chamber Music Festival. She was commissioned by Freer Gallery at Smithsonian Museum to celebrate Tessai Exhibition. She has been lauded by The NY Times, Washington Post among others.
Alicia “Lish” Lindsey began studying Gagaku (Japanese medieval court music) with Columbia University professors SASAKI Louise, SASAKI Noriyuki, and FUKUI Yōichi through the Columbia Gagaku Instrumental Ensemble of NY which included additional studies with the Tenri Gagaku Music Society of NY. As a participant of the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies Mentor/Protégé Summer Initiative Program in 2015 and 2019, Lish had the opportunity to experience the history and culture surrounding Gagaku through observation and rehearsals with members of Ono-Gagaku Kai, Musicians of the Imperial Household, and students/faculty of Kunitachi College of Music. While in Tokyo her ryūteki (dragon flute) studies were with SASAMOTO Takeshi, YAGI Chiaki, OKUBO Yasuo, and ECHIGO Minami and beginning Bugaku dance with NAKAMURA Hitomi.