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Arts at Tenri - Masayo Ishigure and Miyabi Koto Ensemble
Tenri Cultural Institute
New York, NY
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Arts at Tenri - Masayo Ishigure and Miyabi Koto Ensemble
Renowned koto virtuoso Masayo Ishigure will present a concert of music by the legendary koto player and composer Tadao Sawai. As both performer and composer, Sawai brought this classic Japanese instrument to new levels. His compositions include over 70 pieces for koto solo, koto ensemble, and koto with shakuhachi. Many of his works will be heard on this extraordinary concert, which includes dance, solos, duos, trios, and a piece for 13 players!

Guest artists: James Nyoraku Schlefer, shakuhachi; Junko Tano, Jiuta-mai (Japanese traditional dance)

Kurokami  Classic piece for shamisen performed with Junko Tano, jiuta mai dance
Midare  Late 17th Century Edo period classic for koto solo
Jyougen  Sawais masterpiece for koto and shakuhachi
Okoto  written by Tadao Sawais son and musical heir Hikaru Sawai, for two kotos and shakuhachi
Sanka  Virtuoso solo koto piece
Yumenowa  Sawai piece for thirteen koto players.

Masayo Ishigure began playing the koto and jiuta shamisen at the age of five in Gifu, Japan. After initial studies with Tadao and Kazue Sawai she became a special research student in 1986 at the Sawai Koto Academy of Music. The aim of the academy was to shed new light on koto music by incorporating everything from Bach to jazz and thus change the koto from being thought of only as a traditional Japanese instrument into an instrument of universal expressiveness.

Later Masayo Ishigure became one of a small group of virtuoso disciples of the Sawais and successfully completed the 33rd Ikusei-kai program sponsored by NHK to foster and train aspiring artists in Japanese music.

In 1988, Ms.Ishigure received a degree in Japanese Traditional Music at Takasaki Junior Arts College with a concentration on koto and shamisen.
The same year she was recorded on the CD entitled "The World of Tadao Sawai". She played koto and shamisen on the educational video. In 1994 she appeared on the CD entitled "Tori no Yoni": (Flying Like a Bird) Tadao Sawai compositions.

Since arriving in New York City in 1992 Ms.Ishigure has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall-Weill Recital Hall, BAM, Merkin Hall, Trinity Church, Symphony Space and other venues in the New York City metropolitan area. She has performed at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and other prestigious Colleges and Universities. She made several duo appearances with NY City Ballet Principal Dancer Mr. Peter Boal, and was guest artist with the San Diego and New Haven Symphony Orchestras. Ms.Ishigure has appeared in concerts for World Music Institute, Japan Society, Music from Japan, China Institute, and many others. She has participated in music festivals in Japan, Thailand, Brazil, Holland, France, Germany and has performed in Russia, Belarus, Jamaica, Hawaii, Alaska, and many venues throughout the US.

In 2001 and 2005, Ms.Ishigure and several of her students performed with koto master Kazue Sawai at the Freer Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. In 2005 she and her students also appeared with Kazue Sawai at Towson University in Maryland and the Asia Society in NYC.

She has been featured in two public television broadcasts, Music Under New York,and World of Music. In 1997, she recorded koto music for CBS Master Work for use during the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. She has recorded koto music for use in several television commercials.

Since 1992, Ms. Ishigure has been teaching koto and shamisen in the music department of Wesleyan University (CT) as an artist in residence where she formed the Wesleyan Koto Ensemble. She also offers private lessons as the only Sawai Koto Academy Instructor in the New York City and Washington DC area.

She recorded music for the soundtrack of the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha" by John Williams in 2005 along with Yitzhak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, and others.

She released her own solo CD "Grace" in 2001.In 2003 she recorded "East Wind Ensemble" which featured Hayao Miyazaki's animation songs arranged for koto and shakuhachi music. You may purchase "Grace" and "East Wind Ensemble" at CD BABY.com


Tenri Cultural Institute
43A West 13th Street
New York, NY 10011
United States



Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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