MUSICOF ACCLAIMED JAPANESE COMPOSER TORU TAKEMITSUCELEBRATED IN OPENING WEEKS OF CARNEGIE HALL’S JAPANNYC FESTIVALTakemitsu, Who Scored Many Classic Japanese Films, Is Subject ofTwo-Week, 19-Movie Series at Film Forum, December 3 to 16Seiji Ozawa and Saito Kinen Orchestra Perform Takemitsu’s November Stepsfor Orchestra and Traditional Japanese Instruments at Carnegie Hall, December15Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies at Columbia University Presents Concertof Traditional Hōgaku Instruments in Honor of Takemitsu, December 16A Tribute to Tōru Takemitsu Features Jazz Arrangements onFilm Music by the Composer in Zankel Hall, December 17
This December, the music of thegreat Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu (1930–1996) is celebrated duringthe opening weeks of JapanNYC, a two-part citywide festival that celebratesJapanese arts and culture with more than 65 events at Carnegie Hall and NewYork City partner venues.JapanNYC, beginning in December 2010 and continuing in March-April 2011,explores the Japan of today, where artists embrace their country’s uniqueaesthetic sensibilities while continually revitalizing its cultural landscape.Led by renowned conductor Seiji Ozawa as the festival’s artistic director, JapanNYCexplores a country that values its long-standing cultural heritage while alsoembracing and transforming Western art forms in a spirit that very much looksahead.(Photos from top to bottom: Toru Takemitsu; Ran; The Face of Another, SeijiOzawa, Yoko Nishi, coba.)Takemitsu, the best-known Japanese composer of the twentieth century, composeda large body of work over his lifetime—not just for the concert stage, but alsofor film, theater, television, and radio. Influenced early on by Debussy andAmerican jazz and later by John Cage and the sounds of nature, he wrote forboth Western and traditional Japanese instruments, in original and compellingcombinations.In December, JapanNYC celebrates the remarkable scope and endlessvariety of Takemitsu’s music, from a performance of November Steps—perhapshis most renowned work for orchestra—by his close friend and colleague SeijiOzawa conducting the Saito Kinen Orchestra at Carnegie Hall (Wednesday,December 15 at 8:00 p.m.) to an extensive series focusing on the composer’smajor work outside of the concert hall: a two-week film series featuring 19 ofthe nearly 100 movies that Takemitsu scored, presented by festival partner FilmForum (December 3 to 16). Also included will be a concert in honor ofTakemitsu’s interest in traditional Japanese music, presented by festivalpartner the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies at Columbia University atthe Miller Theatre (Thursday, December 16 at 6:00 p.m.). The celebrationconcludes with a Zankel Hall concert curated by the composer’s daughter, MakiTakemitsu, combining two of her father’s great passions: jazz and filmmusic (Friday, December 17 at 7:30 p.m.) with guitarists Kazumi Watanabeand Daisuke Suzuki, accordionist coba, and percussionist TomohiroYahiro.Music by Takemitsu will also be featured during the second part of JapanNYCin March-April 2011, with André Previn conducting the NHK SymphonyOrchestra in Takemitsu’s Green and the Juilliard PercussionEnsemble performing Rain Tree.For a complete festival press kit, click here. Visit carnegiehall.org/japannycfor the most up-to-date information on festival events, interviews withartists, videos, slideshows, and other content providing insight into Japan’sarts scene and JapanNYC festival offerings.Maki Takemitsu’s tribute to her father with Kazumi Watanabe, Daisuke Suzuki,coba, and Tomohiro Yahiro is also presented on December 19 by the PhilharmonicSociety of Orange County at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa,California, as part of JapanOC, a West Coast festival presentedby the Philharmonic Society from October 2010 through April 2011, thanks to thegenerous support of South Coast Plaza. Additionally, Gustavo Dudamel willconduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Takemitsu’s Requiem for Strings onMarch 5 as part of the West Coast edition of the festival. JapanOC marksthe second year of collaboration bringing Carnegie Hall’s festival programmingto Southern California and will feature a variety of arts events and musicalperformances representing the vibrant expanse of traditional and contemporaryJapanese culture, made possible through collaborations with prominent SouthernCalifornia cultural institutions. For more information, visit philharmonicsociety.org/japanoc.December 3–16: TAKEMITSU, Two-Week Film Series at Film ForumJapanNYC partner Film Forum pays tribute to Takemitsu’s film scores witha two-week series, TAKEMITSU, from December 3 to 16, featuring 19of his movies, including some rarely screened works. Takemitsu wrote nearly 100film scores in just over 40 years and in private life was an avid filmgoer,taking in up to 300 movies in a single year. He often visited local cinemaswhen visiting foreign countries even if he did not understand the language.“The reason I love movies is because I experience them as music,” he said.Unlike most film composers who add music to the finished image, Takemitsupreferred total involvement in the creative process, often participating inscript revisions and making appearances on the set when permitted. Withdirectors who allowed him such access, Takemitsu developed inspirationalartistic collaborations, namely with Hiroshi Teshigahara, Masahiro Shinoda,Masaki Kobayashi, and Nagisa Oshima.As a film composer, Takemitsu was known as a master of atmosphere, utilizingboth music and real sounds in his works. His remarkable variety is also evidentin his film music, whether written to be harsh and experimental or in a lush,romantic “Hollywood” style. And Takemitsu’s mastery of styles allowed him toincorporate everything from stern Japanese biwa music heard inKobayashi’s Harakiri to the mock Renaissance music of Shinoda’s Chinmoku(Silence). His instrumentation ranged from a full-blown Mahler-ianorchestra (Akira Kurosawa’s Ran, for which he earned the 1987 LosAngeles Film Critics Award) to the improvisational sounds of two preparedpianos (his innovative score to Teshigahara’s Pitfall) to a soundtrackcomprised of a single song (Susumu Hani’s Bad Boys). No matter what,Takemitsu always tried to be economical. “I only add music to give the audiencea little help hearing the pure music that’s already there in the images,” hesaid, “in other words, it is much more important to prune away the sound thanto add more.”TAKEMITSU, programmed by Bruce Goldstein, Film Forum's Director ofRepertory Programming, with advisors Peter Grilli and Michael Jeck, includesthe following films. Visit filmforum.org for a full schedule and descriptions.
December 15: Takemitsu’s NovemberSteps Conducted by Seiji Ozawa at Carnegie HallDecember 16: Traditional Hōgaku Instruments at Columbia UniversityDecember 17: Improvisations on Takemitsu’s Film Music in Zankel Hall In addition to the series at Film Forum, a trio of December concerts also paystribute to Takemitsu. On December 15, Carnegie Hall presents Seiji Ozawaconducting the Saito Kinen Orchestra, biwa player Yukio Tanaka,and shakuhachi player Kifu Mitsuhashi in Takemitsu’s 1967 work NovemberSteps, one of the composer’s first works to combine traditional Japaneseinstruments and music with a Western classical music orchestra.Takemitsu had initially avoided traditional Japanese music as a composer—whichreminded him too much of Japanese nationalism and militarism during World WarII—until American John Cage reintroduced him to it in the early 1960s.Takemitsu first heard Western classical music during the war, and whileemployed at an American military base afterwards, he took every opportunity hecould to listen to it on US Armed Forces Radio, resolving to be a composerhimself. Largely self-taught, Takemitsu’s first influences—which can be heardthroughout his body of work—were French composers Debussy and Messiaen, but hisstyle also grew to encompass jazz, electronic music, and pop, as well as mixedmedia and the avant-garde.After being reintroduced to traditional Japanese music by Cage (who became aninfluence and a close colleague), Takemitsu began to write for traditionalJapanese instruments, either by themselves or incorporated into ensembles ofWestern instruments. November Steps, written for the 125th anniversaryof the New York Philharmonic, is an example of the latter, placing thetraditional Japanese biwa (lute) and shakuhachi (bamboo flute)within the orchestra. Seiji Ozawa—instrumental in securing the commission forTakemitsu after playing the composer’s earlier Eclipse for biwa and shakuhachifor Leonard Bernstein—conducted the premiere in November 1967, earning plauditsfrom Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Krzysztof Penderecki who were all inattendance.Takemitsu’s interest in traditional Japanese music is reflected in a freeconcert of hōgaku instruments in honor of the composer presented byfestival partner the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies at ColumbiaUniversity on December 16 at the Miller Theatre. In addition to biwaplayer Yukio Tanaka and shakuhachi player Kifu Mitsuhashi(featured in the performance of November Steps), performers include kotoplayer Yoko Nishi and shakuhachi player James Schlefer. Inaddition to the cadenza from Takemitsu’s November Steps, works byYatsuhashi Kengyo, Kinshi Tsuruta, Michio Miyagi, Tadao Sawai, Makoto Moroi,and Yukio Tanaka will be featured. For more information, visit medievaljapanesestudies.org.The third Takemitsu concert, December 17 in Zankel Hall, is programmed in amore contemporary spirit as the composer’s daughter Maki Takemitsucurates an evening of jazz arrangements of her father’s film music. Featuredperformers include renowned jazz guitarist Kazumi Watanabe, classicalguitarist Daisuke Suzuki (who has released a CD of Takemitsu’s completeworks for guitar), the million-selling pop accordionist and composer coba(who has performed with Björk among others), and percussionist TomohiroYahiro.Program InformationFriday, December 3 to Thursday, December 16Film Forum209 West Houston StreetNew York, NY 10014TAKEMITSUTAKEMITSU is a 14-day festival of movies scored by the legendary Japanesecomposer Tōru Takemitsu (1930-1996). Among the nineteen films to be screenedare Hiroshi Teshighara's Woman of the Dunes (1964), Masaki Kobayashi's HaraKiri (1962), and Akira Kurosawa's Ran (1985).For more information:212-727-8110filmforum.orgPresented by Film Forum.________________________________________Wednesday, December 15 at 8:00 p.m.Stern Auditorium/Perelman StageSAITO KINEN ORCHESTRASeiji Ozawa, Director and ConductorYukio Tanaka, BiwaKifu Mitsuhashi, ShakuhachiTORU TAKEMITSU November Steps for Biwa, Shakuhachi, and OrchestraHECTOR BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14Tickets: $36, $43, $54, $73, $98, $108.________________________________________Thursday, December 16 at 6:00 p.m.Miller TheatreColumbia University2960 BroadwayNew York, NY 10027WINDS AND STRINGS OF CHANGE:GLORIES OF THE JAPANESE TRADITIONAL MUSIC HERITAGEYukio Tanaka, BiwaKifu Mitsuhashi, ShakuhachiJames Schlefer, ShakuhachiYoko Nishi, KotoYATSUHASHI KENGYO MidareTRADITIONAL Tsuru no sugomoriKINSHI TSURUTA Dan no uraMICHIO MIYAGI Haru no umiTADAO SAWAI GakuMAKOTO MOROI Chikurai GoshoYUKIO TANAKA Yukyu no shirabeTORU TAKEMITSU November StepsA concert of traditional and innovative works in honor of Tōru Takemitsu (arecipient of an honorary doctorate from Columbia in 1996) performed by eminentmasters of Japanese hōgaku instruments.This concert is free and open to the public. Carnegie Passport holders canobtain select seating by bringing their Passport and presenting it at the door.Limit four (4) people per Passport.For more information:212-854-7403medievaljapanesestudies.orgPresented by the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies at ColumbiaUniversity.________________________________________Friday, December 17 at 7:30 p.m.Zankel HallA TRIBUTE TO TORU TAKEMITSUKazumi Watanabe, GuitarDaisuke Suzuki, Guitarcoba, AccordionTomohiro Yahiro, PercussionThis concert, curated by his daughter Maki Takemitsu, features improvisationson Takemitsu's film music, including selections from Dodes-Ka'den andFace of Another, among others.Pre-concert talk starts at 6:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall with Peter Grilli,President, Japan Society of Boston.Tickets: $30, $40.JapanNYC Lead Sponsors are Epson Corporation; Mizuho Securities USAInc.; Nomura Holding America Inc. and Nomura America Foundation; Kotaro ONO,The Chairman of The ONO Group; Rohm Music Foundation; Sony Corporation; andYoko Nagae Ceschina.Supporting Sponsors are Deloitte LLP; Mitsubishi International Corporation;Suntory Holdings Limited and Suntory Hall; Takeda Pharmaceutical CompanyLimited; Toshiba Corporation; and Toyota.With additional funding from Aladdin Capital Holdings LLC; Asian CulturalCouncil; The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.; GWFF USA Inc.; ITOCHUInternational Inc.; J.C.C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce andIndustry of New York; Kawasaki Good Times Foundation; The NY Mets Foundation;Nihon Unisys, Ltd.; Nippon Express Foundation, Inc.; Nippon Life InsuranceCompany; Hiroko Onoyama and Ken Sugawara; Seiko Instruments Inc.; Subaru ofAmerica, Inc.; and Sumitomo Corporation of America Foundation.With special thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts; the Ministry ofForeign Affairs of Japan; the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan; JapanTourism Agency; Japan National Tourism Organization; the Japan Foundation; andthe Consulate-General of Japan in New York.Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.Continental Airlines is the Official Airline of Carnegie Hall.
Ticket Information Tickets for events taking place at Carnegie Hall are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org. For tickets to JapanNYC partner events, please contact the specific venue. A JapanNYC Festival Passport, priced at $10, saves 15% or more on all events at Carnegie Hall and many partner events during JapanNYC. The Passport is available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, through CarnegieCharge, or at carnegiehall.org. Some restrictions apply. For Carnegie Hall Corporation presentations taking place in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, a limited number of seats, priced at $10, will be available day-of-concert beginning at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:00 noon on Sunday until one hour before the performance or until supply lasts. The exceptions are Carnegie Hall Family Concerts and gala events. These $10 tickets are available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis at the Carnegie Hall Box Office only. There is a two-ticket limit per customer. In addition, for all Carnegie Hall presentations in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage a limited number of partial view (seats with obstructed or limited sight lines or restricted leg room) will be sold for 50% of the full price. For more information on this and other discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts.
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