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UMD Koto Ensemble & Washington Toho Koto Society - Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Listening to the Four Seasons of Japan

UM Koto Ensemble Washington Toho Koto SocietyKyoko Okamoto, director

Sunday, May 8, 2011

2:00 pm - Dekelboum Concert Hall

The UM Koto Ensemble and the Washington Toho Koto Society join together under the direction of Kyoko Okamoto to present a program entitled Listening to the Four Seasons of Japan. Featured works will evoke the natural beauty of the Japanese countryside during each of the four seasons, bringing to listeners the splendor of Japan's famous cherry blossoms, the ebb and flow of the tides on its beaches, the bustle of the rice and persimmon harvests and the tranquility of the deep mountain snowfalls.

The koto, a stringed instrument similar to the harp, is the national instrument of Japan. The origins of the koto date back to the 5th century, and the instrument is used widely in traditional Japanese as well as Western jazz and art music today. Learn more about the ancient Japanese art of koto playing through these films, recordings, books, and scores:

  Films featuring koto players performing traditional Japanese music, including a recording of the 2001 recital of the Washington Toho Koto Society and the UM Koto Ensemble

  Recordings of works for koto with various ensembles, including a recording of selections by the Washington Toho Koto Society

  Scores of pieces composed for koto

  Books about koto playing as well as the history of the ancient instrument

AUDIO CLIP: An excerpt from the most famous piece in the koto repertoire, Rokudan no Shirabe, composed by Yatsuhashi Kengyo in 1644.