Performance Friday, March 25, 2011 | 10 PM

Yutaka Oyama
Masahiro Nitta

Zankel Hall
Performing on the Tsugaru shamisen, a banjo-like instrument from northern Japan, Oyama and Nitta bring a modern sensibility to an ancient, highly percussive folk music.

This concert is part of Late Nights at Zankel Hall.


  • Masahiro Nitta, Shamisen
  • Yutaka Oyama, Shamisen


  • Oyama x Nitta Duo

    Yutaka Oyama and Masahiro Nitta are regarded as two of Japan's foremost Tsugaru shamisen performers. Using an innovative approach to the traditional sounds of the shamisen, they perform classic and original scores with virtuosic improvisations that display the versatility of the instrument. With their roots in Aomori and Hokkaido, respectively, Oyama and Nitta each started studying the shamisen at a very early age. They have won numerous Tsugaru shamisen contests in Japan, and regularly perform together in Japan and internationally.

    Yutaka Oyama, a third-generation Tsugaru shamisen player of the Oyama school, hails from Aomori, the epicenter of rich folkloric music. He began his studies with his grandfather, Mitsuou Oyama, headmaster of the Oyama shamisen school. He is a two-time winner (2001, 2002) of the National Folkloric Music Association's Tsugaru Shamisen Contest in Japan. Oyama has visited many countries in Africa, Europe, and Asia as part of the cultural exchange programs of the Japan Foundation, contributing to the popularization of Japanese culture. In addition to live performances, Oyama has recorded albums, commercials, and video-game software. In 2003, he formed the ensemble Soothe for Tsugaru shamisen, Japanese taiko, guitar, bass, and drum; the group has released three albums: Soothing (2004), Habitual (2006), and Bolinho De Arroz (2009).

    Masahiro Nitta is a second-generation Tsugaru shamisen player of the Nitta school. He began his studies at the age of 14, encouraged by his father Hiroshi Nitta. He won the Tokyo National Tsugaru Shamisen Championship (Junior and Senior High School Division), and went on to win the Kanagi National Tsugaru Shamisen Championship twice (2000, 2001), as well as the National Tsugaru Shamisen Contest (2002). Nitta has recorded several albums, including Shamisen Kid, which he released in 2000 when he was still in high school. He has performed with his father in the Nitta Oyako duo, and also with guitarist Dean Magraw, Monsters of Shamisen, and the Esoragoto Band. In addition, Nitta has performed extensively throughout Asia, Europe, and the US.
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Presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with the World Music Institute.

JapanNYC Lead Sponsors are Epson Corporation; Mizuho Securities USA Inc.; Nomura Holding America Inc. and Nomura America Foundation; Kotaro ONO, The Chairman of The ONO Group; ROHM Co., Ltd. and Rohm Music Foundation; Sony Corporation; and Yoko Nagae Ceschina.

Supporting Sponsors are Deloitte LLP; Mitsubishi International Corporation; Suntory Holdings Limited and Suntory Hall; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited; Toshiba Corporation; and Toyota.

With additional funding from Aladdin Capital Holdings LLC; Asian Cultural Council; The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.; GWFF USA Inc.; ITOCHU International Inc.; J.C.C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York; Kawasaki Good Times Foundation; The NY Mets Foundation; Nihon Unisys, Ltd.; Nippon Express Foundation, Inc.; Nippon Life Insurance Company; Hiroko Onoyama and Ken Sugawara; Seiko Instruments Inc.; Subaru of America, Inc.; and Sumitomo Corporation of America Foundation.

With special thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan; Japan Tourism Agency; Japan National Tourism Organization; the Japan Foundation; and the Consulate-General of Japan in New York.
This performance is part of World Views.

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