Japanese duo to perform at URI for the Distinguished Visiting Artist Program

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Japanese composer Yoshihiro Kanno

KINGSTON, R.I – Feb. 10, 2017 – Japanese composer Yoshihiro Kanno and pianist Noriko Ohtake will introduce traditional and modern Japanese music to the University of Rhode Island Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. The free performance will be held in the URI Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Center, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston. The URI Concert Choir and URI Professor of Music Manabu Takasawa will accompany the duo.

Professor Kanno will also present a lecture entitled “Memories of the Sun Goddess Himiko” that will address the merger of Western classical music with Japanese traditional music and drama. The work also combines traditional theatrical and dance forms such as Kabuki, Gagaku (Imperial Court music and dance) and Shomyo (a style of Buddhist chanting). This lecture will be held Tuesday, Feb. 28 between 12:30 and 1:45 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the Fine Arts Center at URI.

Kanno is a composer and professor of Intermedia Research in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Waseda University in Japan. Kanno graduated from the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music with a Master’s Degree and has won several prestigious awards with his compositions, such as the1994 Recommended Work of International Music Council sponsored by UNESCO. His works are founded on three genres : Western orchestral music, Japanese traditional instruments, and computer music. His most recent work, “Himiko,” joins Western and Japanese instruments and dancers.

Japanese pianist Noriko Ohtake

Kanno and Ohtake’s performance will open with “A Particle of Water,” a solo piano piece played with Myochin-Hibashi, a pair of very long iron chopsticks, which the pianist also plays as a percussion instrument. The performance with include piano and computer music and graphic effects. The URI Choir, directed by Professor Mark Conley will sing selections from “A Tale of Sake Making Country,” which is based on traditional regional sake-making songs. Takasawa will perform a solo piano work that he commissioned in 2003.

Ohtake is a pianist and professor of music at Sagami Women’s University in Japan. Ohtake graduated from Juilliard School and then received a doctorate of musical arts from the University of Maryland. As a professor, Ohtake works with students aspiring to become elementary school and pre-school teachers. In addition to teaching, Ohtake performs and has written several musical publications.

URI’s Distinguished Visiting Artist Program aims to enrich URI’s cultural life and provide students and faculty with a deeper understanding of arts in contemporary culture. The event is sponsored by the URI Office of the Provost and URI’s Department of Music. For more information, go to uri.edu/university-events.

Sarah Saltiel-Ragot, an international student from Sciences Po Rennes in France and an intern in URI’s Department of Marketing and Communications, wrote this news release.