Japanese music wows New Yorkers at commemorative event in Big Apple

25 February 2020

By Yoshihito Akiyama, reporter, Cultural News Section, Fukushima Minpo

〔NEW YORK, United States〕In commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the inauguration of "Music From Japan, Inc. (MFJ)," a concert was held at Scandinavia House in New York on the night of Feb. 23 (on the morning of Feb. 24 Japan time). Among the selection of music, the "Artist Residence" event featured the premiere of an MFJ-commissioned piece titled "For Formalistic Formal (SONATA?) Form For Four."

The piece, performed by New York-based Momenta Quartet, a string quartet, was written by young Japanese composer Chiku Komiya. It sought to deviate from the norm by incorporating elements of the sonata.

Also performed were works of other young composers, including Takeo Hoshiya and Yuka Shibuya from Japan, selected by musicologist and University of Tokyo professor Seiji Choki. Each, also including a string quartet and a piece for the guitar, produced its own unique mood. The audience of about 100, including local music critics, listened attentively.

Ahead of the music performance, a keynote speech was delivered by Choki, who talked about the history of Japanese composers, among other things, under the theme of "Identity, what does it matter? New Generations in Japan." After the concert, a forum was held, in which composers and other participants spoke of their impressions, including about Japanese music.

A Japanese delegation which hosted the event was led by Naoyuki Miura, MFJ president and artistic director also acting as overall music and cultural adviser to Fukushima city. The delegation has held seminars, symposiums and other events in the United States since Feb. 19 to introduce contemporary Japanese music.

(Translated by Kyodo News)