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  • REIGAKUSHA GAGAKU ENSEMBLE BRINGS PAGENTRY OF JAPAN'S OLDEST ART FORM TO WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL IN CELEBRATION OF 150th ANNIVERSARY OF U.S.-JAPAN RELATIONS
  • Oct. 12, 2004
  • Program Features Dazzling Blend of Ancient and Contemporary Classical Gagaku Dance, Instrumental and Vocal Music Under Direction of Sukeyasu Shiba, Formerly of the Music Department of the Imperial Household of Japan

    TUESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2004, AT 8 PM

    This concert is generously sponsored by Mr. George Aratani, Dr. Paul Terasaki and the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles.

    Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of U.S.-Japan relations, Reigakusha - Japan's premier gagaku ensemble -showcases the mesmerizing and colorful pageantry of gagaku, Japan's oldest art form, at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Tuesday, October 12, at 8 p.m. Noted for commissioning new works and restoring ancient treasures, the ensemble is led by Musical Director Sukeyasu Shiba, formerly of the Music Department of the Imperial Household of Japan.

    This presentation of gagaku, a form of Japanese classical music more than one thousand years old, and bugaku, the traditional Japanese dance, encompasses the entire body of dance and music originally practiced by the Emperors and other members of the Imperial court as part of their governmental duties and for private musical expression. There are different categories of Japanese high court music based on the region of its origin. This ancient music inspired Frank Gehry's design for Walt Disney Concert Hall. A pre-concert discussion with Frank Gehry and Professor Robert Garfias of UC Irvine, a renowned expert in gagaku, will be held prior to the performance.

    Reigakusha, opens the program with a number of engaging short classical gagaku works, rich with antiquity, that have transcended the ages, including Etenraku, an essential element of Japanese-style weddings and often heard on festival days at temples and shrines throughout Japan. The concert also features the complete version of Toru Takemitsu's milestone composition Shûteiga Ichigu ("In an Autumn Garden"), composed in 1973 and expanded in 1979.

    Reigakusha Gagaku Ensemble seeks to preserve and advance the ancient art of gagaku, Japanese high court music. The name Reigakusha is an abbreviation of "Reirin Gakuyuusha," name of the ancient Chinese Father of Music. The acclaimed ensemble, which has performed at major concert halls around the globe, embraces the origins and creativity of gagaku, while maintaining the freedom to develop its forms. To that end, it performs repertoire ranging from classical gagaku standards to modern compositions in the genre, many of which Reigakusha has commissioned. Until the 1960s, new compositions were seen as an affront to the dignity of the musical tradition. However, with the establishment in 1966 of the National Theater in Tokyo and the advent of pioneering groups like Reigakusha, which is less bound to the official version of the art, exploring new possibilities has become accepted. The group's musicians perform on such traditional instruments as the ryûteki, a seven-holed bamboo flute; the six-holed komabue and kagurabue; the hichiriki, a double-reed pipe; the shô, a free-reed mouth-organ with 17 bamboo pipes; the , a flat zither with 13 stings of wound silk; the biwa, a lute; the shôko, a small brass gong; and the taiko, a large barrel drum. In addition to its busy performance schedule, Reigakusha promotes gagaku through workshops and lectures.

    Sukeyasu Shiba is the acclaimed founder and music director of the Reigakusha Gagaku Ensemble, which was established in 1985. He is a member of the Koma clan, whose gagaku roots can be traced to the late tenth century. Originally, only by the noble class practiced gagaku. But over the centuries, families of lower rank became established as hereditary clans of professional musicians, perpetuating musical traditions, with descendants of some of those families, such as Shiba, still involved in the performance of gagaku at the Imperial court today. Prior to forming Reigakusha, Shiba belonged to the Music Department of Imperial Household of Japan.

    EDITOR'S PLEASE NOTE:

    TUESDAY, OCTOBER 12, AT 8 PM


    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

    REIGAKUSHA GAGAKU ENSEMBLE

    Sukeyasu Shiba, Music Director

    Kangen (instrumental music)

    Hyôjyô no Netori

    Etenraku

    Bairo

    Bugaku
    (dance with accompaniment)

    Ranryo-o

    TAKEMITSU Shûteiga Ichigu (In an Autumn Garden; complete version)

        In the Garden

        Echo I

        Echo II

        Echo III

    A pre-concert discussion with Frank Gehry and Professor Robert Garfias of UC Irvine, a renowned expert in gagaku, will be held prior to the performance.

    This concert is generously sponsored by Mr. George Aratani, Dr. Paul Terasaki and the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles.

    Tickets ($25 - $80) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office, online at LAPhil.com, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For all information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • contact:

    Contacts: Rachelle Roe, 213.972.7310; Libby Huebner, 562.799.6055; photos: 213.972.3034