Biwa Recital and Lecture

Yoko Hiraoka weaves medieval storytelling with performed music and images in her lecture/recital on the history of the Biwa instrument and the Tale of Heike.

This 80 minute recital is of interest to Asian Studies students as well as the general public. Ms. Hiraoka talks about the origins of the Biwa tradition of sung stories, the instrument itself and the historical context in which the stories emerged. The Tale of Heike is a collection of legends/events stemming from the 12th Century conflicts between the two clans, the Heike and the Genji in feudal Japan. The story excerpts are full of daring deeds, heroic warriors, tragic love and Samurai codeof Bushido (honor). Ms. Hiraoka's stage presentation is a powerful and engaging look into the early history of Japan.


Solo Concert with Koto, Shamisen

Yoko Hiraoka performs a variety of music, both classical and 20th Century Japanese compostions for koto and shamisen, as well as the singing voice. The koto sound is one of the most familarly Japanese experiences and much beautiful solo music exists, going as far back as the 17th Century.


Contemporary Music for Traditional Instruments

Since the opening up of Japan to Western influence at the beginning of the Meiji period in 1868, there has been almost 150 years of cross-fertilization in the the music world, particularly in the world of hogaku-traditional Japanese music.

This Century has seen many new and interesting musical forms created by Japanese composers for the traditional instruments, as well as more recent compositions by contemporary American composers, who have themselves, become deeply schooled in the pedagogy of hogaku, as a result of the slow but steady export of the traditional music to the West via Western teachers who have been trained in Japan and are now teaching the second generation of students in the USA.

Yoko Hiraoka presents some of the best and most exciting contemporary music for koto and shamisen and voice. Together with her shakuhachi partner she offers concerts of new compositions by both US and Japanese composers.


Sankyoku Emsemble Music

The classical music of Edo period Japan was fostered by a long period of realitive peace and prosperity in Japan which enabled the emergence of a rich musical tradition involving the instruments koto, shamisen and shakuhachi together the the 'Jiuta' singing voice. This complex criss-crossing of melodic layers coupled with the thematic sung poem yields an extraordinarily beautiful listening experience. Sankyou is often composed around themes of love, loss, nature and the evanescence of life.

Yoko Hiraoka presents world-class Sankyoku ensemble playing with some of the finest shakuhachi players in the world, in a concert to engage and delight audiences of all kinds.


For performance enquiries please contact Yoko Hiraoka: here

Yoko Hiraoka

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