• Friday, Mar 4, 2011

    Japanese Shamisen Players Yutaka Oyama and Masahiro Nitta Perform in Zan


    Duo also Performs a Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert on Saturday, March 26

      On Friday, March 25 at 10:00 p.m. in Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall presents two of Japan’s foremost Tsugaru shamisen performers, Yutaka Oyama and Masahiro Nitta—the Oyama x Nitta Duo—as part of its ongoing citywide JapanNYC festival which invites audiences to explore the diversity of Japanese arts and culture. The Tsugaru shamisen is a banjo-like instrument from the Tsugaru region in Aomori Prefecture in the northernmost part of Japan’s central island of Honshu. Both Oyama and Nitta are known for using the instrument to bring a modern sensibility to an ancient, highly percussive folk music, which is sometimes referred to as “Japanese bluegrass.” 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. Oyama and Nitta will present a program featuring traditional music from Northern and Southern Japan and the elaborate, animated folk songs of Tsugaru as well as original music by the artists. In addition, the duo will perform in collaboration with projected animation created by TEAMLAB to help further illustrate a contemporary Japanese sensibility.

    This concert is presented in partnership with the World Music Institute.

    Prior to the Zankel Hall performance, beginning at 9:00 p.m., concert-goers are invited to enjoy a laid-back pre-concert experience in the Zankel Hall lounge where they can meet others who share their passion for music. The first 200 concert-goers to arrive will receive a complimentary drink, courtesy of Carnegie Hall. For more information please visit: carnegiehall.org/latenights.

    Following the duo’s concert at Zankel Hall, Oyama and Nitta perform a free Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert presented by the Weill Music Institute on Saturday, March 26 at 3:00 p.m. in The Playhouse at Abrons Arts Center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

    For a preview of the shamisen duo’s art, visit youtube.com/watch?v=GUf8lEzOefk.

    About the Artists
    The Oyama x Nitta Duo is comprised of two of Japan’s foremost shamisen performers, Yutaka Oyama and Masahiro Nitta. Using a creative and innovative approach to the traditional sounds of the shamisen, the duo performs classic and original scores with virtuosic improvisations that display the versatility of the instrument. With roots in Aomori and Hokkaido respectively, Oyama and Nitta both began studying the shamisen at an early age and have won numerous tsugaru shamisen contests in Japan. Oyama x Nitta Duo performs regularly in Japan and abroad, delivering its unique sound to audiences throughout the world.

    Yutaka Oyama, a third generation Tsugaru shamisen player of the Oyama school, hails from Aomori—the epicenter of rich folkloric music. Oyama is a two-time winner (2001, 2002) of the National Folkloric Music Association’s Tsugaru Shamisen Contest in Japan, and has visited many countries in Africa, Europe, and Asia as part of cultural exchange programs of the Japan Foundation which contribute to the popularization of Japanese culture. In addition to live performances, he has recorded albums, commercials, and video game software. In 2003, he formed the group Soothe for Tsugaru shamisen, Japanese taiko, guitar, bass, and drum. The ensemble 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 who began his studies at the age of 14 with the encouragement of his father Hiroshi Nitta. Nitta 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). He has recorded several albums, including Shamisen Kid, which he released in 2000 while still in high school. Nitta has performed with a number of celebrated musicians including his father, Minneapolis-based guitarist Dean Magraw, the Monsters of Shamisen with Californian shamisen players Kevin Kmetz and Mike Penny, and the Esoragoto Band, which includes Japanese taiko, bass and saxophone. Nitta has toured extensively throughout Asia, Europe, and the US.

    Program Information
    Friday, March 25 at 10:00 p.m.
    Zankel Hall
    Yutaka Oyama
    , Shamisen
    Masahiro Nitta, Shamisen

    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.

    Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 3:00 p.m.
    Abrons Arts Center at Henry Street Settlement

    The Playhouse
    466 Grand Street
    New York, NY 10002
    Public Phone: 212-598-0400


    The Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert Series is sponsored by Target®.

    Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.

    Continental Airlines is the Official Airline of Carnegie Hall.

    Ticket Information
    Tickets, $38–$46, 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 more information discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts.



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