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Hogaku: New Sounds of Japan 2010

January 29, 2010

The Japan Foundation organized a three-city U.S. tour of Hogaku (traditional Japanese music) in January 2010, presenting three duo groups: TsuguKaji-KOTO (koto), OYAMA X NITTA (tsugaru shamisen) and HIDE & MIHO (percussion). The music they performed was a mix of traditional and contemporary sounds, giving a new interpretation to Hogaku instruments.

TsuguKaji - KOTOThe first concert took place on January 9 at Asia Society, New York. This concert was scheduled in conjunction with the APAP (Association for the Performing Arts Presenters) conference, which gave performing arts presenters from different areas of the U.S. and the world the opportunity to see this showcase of new musicians. The event was a huge success and attracted approximately 250 spectators, including many APAP members.

The tour then went on to perform at the prestigious Laura Turner Concert Hall of the Nashville Symphony in Nashville on January 13. The concert included some surprises, like the version of Tennessee Waltz performed by the shamisen duo. The concert attracted more than 600 spectators, and ended with a rousing standing ovation.

OYAMA X NITTAThe last performance of the tour took place on January 15 at the University of Georgia in Athens. The concert was held at Ramsey Hall in the Performing Arts Center, and attracted more than 500 people, far exceeding the theater’s capacity of 350. The audience enjoyed this rare opportunity to hear some of the most popular Hogaku instrumentalists from Japan, playing various sounds from traditional to contemporary, from East to West.

All concerts on this tour were preceded with a pre-performance lecture by Takafumi Tanaka, chief editor of the monthly magazine, Hogaku Journal, giving audiences a deeper understanding of Japanese traditional instruments and their unique characteristics.

HIDE & MIHOThe Hogaku: New Sounds of Japan was organized by the Japan Foundation. The performance in New York was co-presented with Asia Society in association with World Music Institute; the performance in Nashville was presented in partnership with the Consulate General of Japan in Nashville and Nashville Symphony; the performance in Athens was presented by the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta and University of Georgia’s Center for Asian Studies.