Bo Lawergren (Professor Emeritus, Hunter College) and Tomoko Sugawara (Harpist and Kugo Player)
The angular harp, with an L-shaped body, arose in Mesopotamia around 2000 BCE and, following the Silk Road, reached China and eventually Korea and Japan. Artists in all the cultures it penetrated loved to depict its beautiful shape and their local musicians playing it. Around the year 1000 CE, however, the European harp of irregular triangular shape emerged, and by 1600 the angular harp vanished. Recently, music archeologists have reconstructed the angular harp (called the kugo in Japan and konghou in China). The lecture will include a kugo performance of resurrected ancient tunes from T’ang China and Nara Japan as well as modern pieces composed for the kugo.
Co-sponsored by the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Studies, as part of the of the “Ancient Soundscapes: New Echoes from Japan’s Musical Past” Program Series