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Yoko Hiraoka

New Music Performance for Japanese Instruments

Yoko Hiraoka performs contemporary compositions by both American and Japanese composers in a beautiful stage presentation that showcases some of the best new music emerging from both countries.

The opening of Japan to the West at the end of the 19th century, following 250 years of isolation, spurred exciting new paths of global communications in all fields, music included. In the late 19th and early 20th century, new styles of music began to emerge as composers and performers in both Japan and the West encountered each other's musical traditions.

In the present day, a growing number of Japanese and American composers have been trained in the traditional pedagogy of Japanese hogaku as well as in the history, theory, and composition studies of Western classical music. When these composers turn their creative talents toward new musical horizons, the results can be innovative and exciting. In the United States, the early 21st century finds a community of American composers writing fresh, bright, and often beautifully lyrical music for instruments such as the koto, shamisen, shakuhachi, and biwa.

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Contemporary performance recordings:

Shikyoku Ichiban (with Ralph Samuelson, shakuhachi)

Naki Tokoro Nite (with Ralph Samuelson, shakuhachi)