“Shomyo no kai-Voices of a Thousand Years,” a choral group comprising 24 Buddhist priests, will undertake a three-city American tour with “RASENMANDARAKAIE,” a performance of classic Shomyo and new Shomyo composed by Yu Kuwabara. The New York venue will be St. Bartholemew’s Church in central Manhattan.
The tour has been organized in conjunction with an esoteric Buddhist exhibition featuring items from the Nara National Museum Collection to be held at local producer/organizer Japan Society’s Gallery venue, with the aim of providing an introduction to Buddhist art and music from multiple perspectives. The group has also been invited to perform as part of a music festival at Carnegie Hall. Concurrent workshops and lectures will be held with the aim of deepening understanding of Japanese traditions and developing dialog and exchange with university students and artists on the musical possibilities of Shomyo.
Shomyo no kai-Voices of a Thousand Years
Shomyo is a treasured Japanese musical tradition going back 1200 years. With the aim of preserving and developing this tradition, leading figures from Japan’s two main Buddhist sects Shingon and Tendai formed the cross-denominational unit “A Shomyo Group of Four,” later changing the name to “Shomyo no kai-Voices of a Thousand Years.” From 1998 to 2016 the group gave regular annual performances at Spiral Hall in Tokyo, in concerts introducing classic Shomyo pieces as well as many new commissioned Shomyo works by distinguished composers. In 2014 the group undertook a well-received three-city American tour including New York to perform the contemporary Shomyo work “Sonbou no Toki (Life in an Autumn),” a requiem by Ushio Torikai for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The group continues to explore the depths of the Shomyo tradition and its contemporary possibilities. CD releases include “A UN,” and “Sonbou no Toki (Life in an Autumn)” composed by Ushio Torikai and released on the Japan Traditional Cultures Foundation’s label.
1-9-9-5F, Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-0022
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, USA
Japan Society, New York, USA
St Bart’s Church, New York, USA
University of Chicago, Chicago, USA