Music of Japan Comes To Gustavus

Posted on October 9th, 2006 by

The Music of Japan: The Past into The Future, a concert of traditional and modern music from Japan, will be presented by vocalist Mika Kimula, bamboo flutist David Wheeler and pianist Yumiko Oshima-Ryan in Jussi Bjorling Recital Hall on Friday, October 13, beginning at 7:30 p.m. This performance is part of a guest artist residency by Kimula and Wheeler and is sponsored by the Gustavus Artist Series, the Diversity Center, the Dean of the Faculty and the Office of International Education.

This unique and memorable concert brings together these three talented performers of traditional Japanese music and culture. Mika Kimula specializes in both traditional and modern styles of Japanese music. She studied voice at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts. Her interests include 20th century vocal compositions and traditional singing styles used in noh chant and nagauta singing. David Wheeler also studied at the National University of Fine Arts where he earned his Masters in Japanese Music History and Theory. Although he has studied many aspects of Japanese music and culture, David’s specialty is playing the shakuhachi, the traditional bamboo flute. Since 1982, he has been performing, teaching, lecturing and writing about the shakuhachi and Japanese music in Japan and around the world. Yumiko Oshima-Ryan, associate professor of music at Gustavus, grew up in Japan and graduated from the Toho Music Academy in Tokyo before coming to the the United States to complete her doctorate at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Since 1995, she has been performing contemporary Japanese music internationally with recitals in Japan, Canada, and the United States, and has produced a compact disc of that recital titled From Afar.

Friday’s concert presents the experience of these three musicians in an exploration of both traditional and modern Japanese music with a demonstration of the influence of the traditional and the adaptation of the modern in contemporary Japan. The selections range from 10th century folk songs in Three Songs from Medieval Japan to the use of traditional Japanese vocal techniques in contemporary works such as Story Telling on a Winter’s Night and The Nightingale. Throughout the program, the relationship between voice and instrument and the approach to performance will be explored.

This performance gives a rare opportunity for a Midwestern audience to experience traditional Japanese music performed by those who have lived it and know it best. Tickets for this unique concert, The Music of Japan: The Past into The Future, are available by calling the Gustavus Ticket Center at (507) 933-7590. Tickets will also be available at the door, one hour prior to the performance at 7:30 p.m.


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