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Ancient Soundscapes: New Echoes, A Symposium and Musicale

Thursday, March 13, 2008 @ 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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On the Occasion of its 40th Anniversary
the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies
Columbia University, New York City
will present
Ancient Soundscapes: New Echoes
A Symposium and Musicale

Composer Toshi Ichiyanagi and his Ensemble Origin
“New Music on Reborn Ancient Eurasian Instruments”

Sponsored by:
Ensemble Origin 2008 Tour
Sennen no Hibiki (A Millennium of Resonance)

In cooperation with:
The Center for Ethnomusicology
The Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture

The Shōsōin Repository in Nara, Japan contains the world’s most precious collection of ancient Asian musical instruments, collected and loved by Japanese Emperor Shōmu and donated as offerings to the Buddha by Empress Kōmyō at his death in 756.

Panelists will discuss (with use of visual and audio media) the cultural history of these instruments; review the process of reclaiming ancient instruments and scores from the Shōsōin as well as from archaeological sites across Asia and from paintings; and give an overview of restoration and reconstruction projects in Japan based on Shōsōin instruments and explain professional attempts to resurrect their original sound, aesthetic, spiritual and performance roles.

The eminent composer Toshi Ichiyanagi will share his ten-year experience with reconstructed ancient Asian instruments and will show the methods used to restore the kugo and hōkyō. Such instruments, as well as the shōumeihichiriki, and ōhichiriki, will also be played, and their potential for musicians and composers will be demonstrated.

Mr. Ichiyanagi will also explain the formation of his Ensemble Origin to play these instruments, its relation to ancient gagaku, its international character, and its use as a medium for new music.

A roundtable discussion on “New Music on Reborn Ancient Eurasian Instruments” by eminent modern composers who have composed for traditional Japanese instruments will follow, as well as questions from the audience.

The program will conclude with a musical Hors d’oeuvre where participating musicians (including Columbia students) will play an array of short pieces from gagaku, restored pieces, and Mr. Ichiyanagi’s own compositions, and others, to demonstrate the range of possibilities of these wonderful instruments and to whet the appetite of the symposium audience for the full Carnegie Zankel Hall Ensemble Origin concerts that follow on the next two days, March 14 and 15, 2008.

A celebratory reception will follow.


Thursday, March 13, 2008
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


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