In conjunction with the Gagaku-Hōgaku Classical Japanese Music Curriculum and Performance Program at Columbia University, launched in September 2006, the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies presents several public gagaku concerts and instrumental workshops to introduce the ancient music of Japan to a greater audience at Columbia University and in New York.
Leading gagaku artists are invited from Japan to perform at our New York concerts. Members of the renowned gagaku ensemble Reigakusha, such Mayumi Miyata (shō), Hitomi Nakamura (hichiriki), and Takeshi Sasamoto (ryūteki), have presented pieces from the classical repertory as well as contemporary compositions for the ancient gagaku instruments. The concerts are an important showcase for newly-commissioned works for gagaku instruments. At the March 2006 and February 2007 concerts, new compositions by Hiroya Miura, commissioned by the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies, were given their world premieres. These musical gatherings are also an opportunity for collaboration between musicians and artists from Japan and the United States, as well as between performers of eastern and western instruments. In November 2006, the gagaku musicians and bugaku dancers of the Ono Gagaku Society of Tokyo performed with Shrine Celebrant Kagura Dancers from the International Shinto Foundation in New York.
Visiting gagaku artists from Japan also lend their expertise by providing instruction for open instrumental workshops. Participants, including both beginners as well as professional musicians, gain hands-on experience with their choice of the three gagaku wind instruments: hichiriki, ryūteki, and shō.