These concerts in the Californian region offer genuine, full-blown Gagaku performances including Kangen instrumental music, Utamono vocal pieces and Bugaku dance. Led by former Chief Court Musicians from the Music Department belonging to the Imperial Household Agency’s Board of Ceremonies, the concerts feature a collection of talented Gagaku performers from around the country. The history of this ancient court music and dance dating back over 1,400 years old, its musical instruments, playing methods and performance styles will give audiences an introduction to Japanese aesthetic senses and values.
-Performances of major Kangen works
Taishikichō no Netori, Gakkaen, Keibairaku, Batō
-Performance of “Omeri-buki”* for 2 Sho (mouth-organ-like woodwind instrument)
*Omeri-buki: free-rhythm canon style of playing in which one player follows another player’s melody
-From“Kagura-uta,” the secret ritual music of Gagaku
Performances of Kagura no Netori, Senzai, Sonokoma
-The Jo (prelude) to the piece Konjyu is an attempt at a new style of Gagaku performance, with omeri-buki by two separate groups of musicians
Hōhin, a Bugaku dance and representative Komagaku (form of Gagaku) work / Omeri-buki for Sho, Omeri-buki for Fue flute (Rinyū-ranjyō)
Gagaku California Performance Executive Committee
Featuring four former Chief Court Musicians from the Music Department belonging to the Imperial Household Agency’s Board of Ceremonies who remain actively involved in Gagaku performance, the committee presents a high level of artistry, rarely performed secret pieces and first-rate Japanese culture to overseas audiences. Without tearing up the traditions of Gagaku, they explore performance styles that differ from Gagaku’s conventional performance structure.
In 2017, on the group’s four-country tour of Europe with a mere seven musicians, its new-style performance focusing on the Omeri-buki playing style was well-received and the artistry behind it appreciated. In particular, the Jo (prelude) to the piece Konjyu, with omeri-buki by two separate groups of musicians, has the potential to be established as a new performance style. With a view to further developing this style to include percussion and dance, the group has transcended the boundaries of existing Gagku troupes by recruiting outstanding performers and forming this organization.
Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford, USA
University of California, Santa Barbara, USA