Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Breeze Through Azabu

 In 2015 the International Center for Japanese Culture sponsored a competition  for compositions for two 13 string, one 17 string kotos and Bb clarinet. I submitted a piece: Stellar's Sea Eagle - On seeing the Tower of Prayer - Cape Soya. I didn't win the competition, but I dedicated and sent the piece to Michiyo Yagi, with whom I had performed when I was doing my residency in Japan in 2013. She loved the piece, but had no occasion to perform it. A few months ago I received a massage from her husband and manager Mark Rappaport, asking if I was willing to redo the piece for four kotos and clarinet. Michiyo had received a small grant form Arts Council Tokyo to commission and perform new music for koto. Of course, I said yes. However, in reviewing the score, I just couldn't see how it could easily be done. That piece was very specific and each instrument had a particular extramusical role to play. There was no room for another instrument without undermining the conceptual basis of the work. So we decided I should do a brand new work. That work is now in Michiyo's hands. 

It is titled: Breeze Through Azabu - I'm Just Seeing. There's Nothing Wrong with Keeping Your Eyes Open. It is for 17, 18, 21, 25 string kotos and Bb clarinet. It combines graphic and normal Western music notation. Azabu is the neighborhood I lived in when I was in Tokyo. It is sort of upscale, with a lot of foreign embassies so therefore a lot of Gaijin, like me and hipsters, not like me. You can see a few shots of the area here. The premier will be on Dec. 3, 2022 at Koen-Dori Classics, the same venue at which I performed with Michiyo.

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