“Hengenjizai” is a concert project founded in 2011, organized by the two Japanese koto virtuosos, Soju Nasaka and Kazue Sawai. They are pioneers of contemporary koto music, who have been active on the front lines of the contemporary music world. In this project, the two koto virtuosos have performed together throughout Japan. Their splendid, dynamic, elegant and rich performance enraptures audiences.
Specifically, their performance of Tadao Sawai’s 1983 composition for koto and 17-string bass koto, “Hyakkaffu” (meaning, “Multitudes of Flowers”) is receiving great critical acclaim and has appeared on television.
They have invited the public as well as have commissioned composers for the creation of new works. They have since premiered five of these contributions from public and professionals.
The original kanji (Chinese characters) of the word, Hengenjizai “変幻自在,” loosely translates to, “Changing illusions.” The duo created a new kanji meaning of Hengenjizai, “変絃自在,” to signify, “Playing strings freely from the heart and creating music.”
Soju Nosaka is the pioneer of the 20-string, 21-string and 25-sting koto. She is a special guest Professor at the Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music, and Executive Director of the Nihon Sankyoku Kyokai. In 1991, she played her newly developed 25-string koto for the first time. Nosaka received the Matsuo Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts the following year. http://www.matsunomi.net/nosaka/
Kazue Sawai is a leader in contemporary Japanese music, bringing koto music to musicians and audiences that have never had the opportunity to fully experience the depth and breadth of the koto sound. In 1999, Sawai premiered Sofia Gubaidulina’s “In the Shadow of the Tree” as a soloist with Charles Dutorit and the NHK Symphony at the Carnegie hall. http://sawaisoukyokuin.com/sawaikazue
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May 10, 2017, San Francisco Public Library／ May 12 2017, Maybeck Studio／May 13, 2017, Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, USA