JAMES NYORAKU SCHLEFER, Artistic Director
MEG FAGAN, Producer

Press Releases

Press Contact: Meg Fagan, Producer • Kyo-Shin-An Arts • 718-832-5435 • meg@nyoraku.com

KYO-SHIN-AN ARTS  is a contemporary music organization celebrating its 10th Anniversary Season. From groundbreaking to mainstream, over the last decade KSA has built and promoted a wide body of new classical repertoire combining Japanese and Western instruments. Commissions to date total 27 composers for 45 new works. 2018-19 continues KSA’s annual five-concert series at the Tenri Cultural Institute in Manhattan and marks the launch of its next decade with a distinctive, two-year “Septet Commissioning Project.”

RELEASE 1: Concert October 28

Kyo-Shin-An Arts 10th Anniversary Season continues on October 28 with CRIMSON LEAVES.

Neave Piano Trio: Anna Williams, violin; Mikhail Veselov, cello; Eri Nakamura, piano

James Nyoraku Schlefer, shakuhachi

Crimson Leaves: Piano Trio and Shakuhachi. Direct from Boston - an inspiring young piano trio joins KSA and its Artistic Director, Shakuhachi Grand Master James Nyoraku Schlefer, in an intimate performance of chamber music that blurs the lines of world culture. The fiery rhythms of Iran, the sensuous passion of Argentina, the sudden drama of Hong Kong, the austere calm of Japan. Violin, cello, piano and shakuhachi come together in music by Amir Eslami. Astor Piazzolla, and Adrian Hon Chung Lam.

 Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Tenri Cultural Institute

43A West 13 Street, Manhattan

TICKETS: $25 general audiences and $15 students and seniors. In advance at brownpapertickets.com.

PROGRAM:

Seasons by Amir Eslami – Shakuhachi and Piano Trio

Separated... at the Human Labyrinth of Asakusa Temple by Adrian Hong Chung Lam – Shakuhachi and Piano Trio

The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Astor Piazzolla – Piano Trio

BIOGRAPHIES

NEAVE PIANO TRIO: Anna Williams, violin; Mikhail Veselov, cello; Eri Nakamura, piano. Neave is a Gaelic name meaning “bright and radiant.” The Trio has performed at many esteemed concert series and at festivals worldwide, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, 92nd Street Y, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center/La Jolla Music Society, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Norfolk and Norwich Chamber Music Series (United Kingdom), and the Samoylov and Rimsky Korsakow Museums’ Chamber Music Series in St. Petersburg (Russia). Neave has also appeared frequently as soloists for Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with orchestras throughout the US and held residency positions at Brown University, ArtsAhimsa Chamber Music Festival, San Diego State University as the first ever Fisch/Axelrod Trio-in-Residence, and the Banff Centre (Canada), among other institutions. In the fall of 2017, the Trio joined the faculty of the Longy School of Music of Bard College as an Alumni Artists, Faculty Ensemble–in–Residence. Neave Trio strives to champion new works by living composers and reach wider audiences through innovative concert presentations, regularly collaborating with artists of all mediums. These collaborations include performances with the Blythe Barton Dance Company; projection artist Ryan Brady; the interactive concert series “STEIN2.0,” with composer Amanuel Zarzowski; Klee Musingsby acclaimed American composer Augusta Read Thomas, which was premiered by Neave; the upcoming premiere of Eric Nathan’s Missing Words V, sponsored by Coretet; and an upcoming short film based on the tango music of Astor Piazzolla. The Trio released its most recent recording, French Moments, on Chandos Records in June 2018, and will release an all-Piazzolla album on Azica Records in fall 2018.

Management and PR: Jensen Artistswww.neavetrio.com.  

JAMES NYORAKU SCHLEFER, SHAKUHACHI, is a Grand Master of the shakuhachi and one of only a handful of non-Japanese artists to have achieved this rank. He received the Dai-Shi-Han (Grand Master) certificate in 2001, and his second Shi-Han certificate in 2008, from the Mujuan Dojo in Kyoto. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Tanglewood and BAM, as well as multiple venues across the country and in Japan, Indonesia, Brazil and Europe. Schlefer first encountered the shakuhachi in 1979, while working towards a career as a flute player and pursuing an advanced degree in musicology. Today he is considered by his colleagues to be one of most influential Western practitioners of this distinctive art form. Known to his students as Nyoraku sensei, Schlefer established his own dojo in NYC in 1996. He also teaches shakuhachi at Columbia University, a broad spectrum of Western and World music courses at New York City College of Technology (CUNY), and performs and lectures at colleges and universities throughout the United States. As a composer, Schlefer has written multiple chamber and orchestral works combining Japanese and Western instruments as well as numerous pieces solely for traditional Japanese instruments. In December 2015, he was recognized by Musical America Worldwide as one of their “30 Top Professionals and Key Influencers” for his work both as a composer and Artistic Director of Kyo-Shin-An Arts. His writings about the shakuhachi and his career were published in 2018 on NewMusicBox and he was profiled by the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Arts Works Blog” in May 2016. His programming for Kyo-Shin-An Arts has also been recognized with two CMA/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming (2013 and 2016). His orchestral music can be heard on the recording Spring Sounds Spring Season MSR Classics. www.nyoraku.com

KYO-SHIN-AN ARTS: Kyo-Shin-An Arts' is a contemporary music organization with a mission to commission music and present concerts that bring Japanese instruments – specifically koto, shakuhachi and shamisen – to Western classical music. A 2016 and 2013 CMA/ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award winner (small presenter, mixed repertory), Kyo-Shin-An Arts will be presenting its 10h chamber music season at the Tenri Cultural Institute. KSA works in partnership with established ensembles and Western soloists, bridging two cultures by introducing composers and players alike to the range and virtuosity of Japanese instruments and the musicians who play them. The resulting music provides audiences with a unique introduction to traditional Japanese music within a familiar context and fabulous contemporary music. Concerts feature a blend of KSA commissions with World, American and NY premieres, traditional and contemporary music for Japanese instruments and Western repertoire. Current ensemble partners include the Cassatt and Voxare String Quartets in NYC, the Arianna and Ciompi in MO and NC, Ensemble Epomeo, Sybarite5, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra of the Swan in the UK. Players of Japanese instruments include Christopher Yohmei Blaisdel, Masayo Ishigure, Yoko Reikano Kimura, Nami Kineie, Yumi Kurosawa, Riley Lee, John Kaizan Neptune, Yoko Nishi, Akihito Obama and James Nyoraku Schlefer.  Commissioned composers to date include Victoria Bond, Chad Cannon, Ciara Cornelius, Douglas j Cuomo, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Daron Hagen, Matthew Harris, William Healy, Kento Iwasaki, Mari Kimura, Angel Lam, Daniel Levitan, Gilda Lyons, James Matheson, Paul Moravec, Mark Nowakowski, Yoko Sato, Somei Satoh, James Nyoraku Schlefer, Benjamin Verdery, Aleksandra Vrebalov and Randall Woolf, among others. www.kyoshinan.org

TENRI CULTURAL INSTITUTE AND KYO-SHIN-AN ARTS PRESENT: The excellent acoustics and intimate gallery setting of the Tenri Cultural Institute create a superb setting for listening to chamber music and offer audiences the rare opportunity to hear both traditional and contemporary music from two cultures in a setting similar to the music rooms of the courts and castles of both Europe and Japan. Over 300 years of chamber music tradition are presented throughout this series. Performances feature piano trios and string quartets from the great composers of Europe, music from Japan’s Edo period written for shamisen, koto and shakuhachi and contemporary music combining Western and Japanese instruments. http://artsat.tenri.org/

KYO-SHIN-AN ARTS’ 2019 UPCOMING CONCERTS AT TENRI CULTURAL INSTITUTE – CALENDAR LINK

February 10, 2019 at 4PM: Snowdrop Moment, Tomoko Sugawara, Harp and Kugo (Japanese Harp) and James Nyoraku Schlefer. Contemporary and traditional duos for harp and shakuhachi by Robert Lombardo, Anne Boyd, Yao Heng-lu, Kikuko Matsumoto (world premiere) and others. brownpapertickets.com

March 10, 2019 at 4PM: Spring Green, Hub New Music: Michael Avitabile, flute; David Dziardziel, clarinet; Zenas Hsu, violin; Jesse Christensen, cello; and James Nyoraku Schlefer, shakuhachi. This exciting, young quartet brings their own commissions with shakuhachi to KSA. Quintets by Chad Cannon, Takuma Itoh, Kojiro Umezaki, and Angel Lam (co-commission), plus quartets by Matthew Aucoin (world premiere) and Judd Greenstein. brownpapertickets.com

April 14, 2019 at 4PM: Kammerraku Anniversary, Cassatt String Quartet: Muneko Otani and Jennifer Leshnower, violins; Ah Ling Neu, viola; Elizabeth Anderson, cello; with Yoko Reikano Kimura, shamisen and voice; Sumie Kaneko, koto and voice; and James Nyoraku Schlefer, shakuhachi. The first of the 10th Anniversary septet concerts. World premieres by Schlefer and Daron Hagen, plus the Ravel quartet. brownpapertickets.com

KYO-SHIN-AN ARTS’ ANNIVERSARY COMMISSIONING INITIATIVE

In addition to its regular commissioning, KSA is planning a two-season initiative of four septets for sankyoku trio (shakuhachi, koto, and shamisen with voice) and string quartet. The septet instrumentation is an inspiring combination, rich in the textures and sonorities that showcase the virtuosity of two rigorous traditions. It is also an ultimate cultural marriage - two iconic ensembles that both blossomed during the same historical period, one in the opulent court of the Esterházys and the other in the Imperial palaces of Edo Japan. The only extant work for this combination is Dream Corner, composed by Schlefer in 2013. Bringing four more such septets to the repertoire is a major contribution to the repertoire.

The composers are Daron Hagen and James Nyoraku Schlefer for 2019, premiering at Tenri on April 14, 2019, with the Cassatt Quartet and Yoko Sato and James Matheson for 2020, premiering at Tenri in Spring 2020 with the Arianna Quartet. At this time the project has three committed string quartet partners – the Arianna, Cassatt and Ciompi Quartets. The Arianna and Ciompi Quartets respectively anticipate performances at the University of St. Louis Missouri and Duke University.

RELEASE 2: Concert September 30

Kyo-Shin-An Arts begins its 10th Anniversary Season with CELLO-HACHI.

Kenneth Woods, cello and James Nyoraku Schlefer, shakuhachi

with Special Guest Artist Riley Lee, shakuhach

Cello-Hachi: Internationally acclaimed cellist Kenneth Woods and shakuhachi Grand Masters James Nyoraku Schlefer and Riley Lee in a program of spellbinding duos and solos for cello and shakuhachi. It will feature New York, American and World premieres by Michio Mamiya, Sophie Pope, Chikuho Sakai and James Nyoraku Schlefer (world premiere), plus solo works for both instruments.

Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Tenri Cultural Institute

43A West 13 Street, Manhattan

TICKETS: $25 general audiences and $15 students and seniors. In advance at brownpapertickets.com.

PROGRAM:

Kio by Michio Mamiya – Duo, NY Premiere

Mushi Kuy? (Insect Funeral) by Chikuho Sakai – Duo, NY Premiere

Bailey Island by Sophie Pope – Duo, American Premiere

Curbside Shuffle by James Nyoraku Schlefer – World Premiere KSA Commission

San’ya – Traditional shakuhachi solo (performed on an extra-long, 3.6 shakuhachi)

Solo Cello Work TBD

2018-2019 UPCOMING CONCERTS

October 28, 2018 at 4PM: Crimson Leaves, Neave Trio: Anna Williams, violin; Mikhail Veselov, cello; and Eri Nakamura, piano; with James Nyoraku Schlefer, shakuhachi. This highly international program features works for shakuhachi and piano trio by the Iranian composer Amir Eslami and the Hong-Kong based Adrian Hon Chung Lam plus a piano trio by Astor Piazzolla.

February 10, 2019 at 4PM: Snowdrop Moment, Tomoko Sugawara, Harp and Kugo (Japanese Harp) and James Nyoraku Schlefer. Contemporary and traditional duos for harp and shakuhachi by Robert Lombardo, Anne Boyd, Yao Heng-lu, Kikuko Matsumoto (world premiere) and others.

March 10, 2019 at 4PM: Spring Green, Hub New Music: Michael Avitabile, flute; David Dziardziel, clarinet; Zenas Hsu, violin; Jesse Christesen, cello; and James Nyoraku Schefer, shakuhachi. This exciting, young quartet brings their own commissions with shakuhachi to KSA. Quintets by Chad Cannon, Takuma Itoh, Kojiro Umezaki plus quartets by Anna Clyne, Angelica Negron and Judd Greenstein.

April 14, 2019 at 4PM: Kammerraku Anniversary, Cassatt String Quartet: Muneko Otani and Jennifer Leshnower, violins; Ah Ling Neu, viola; Elizabeth Anderson, cello; with Yoko Reikano Kimura, shamisen and voice; Sumie Kaneko, koto and voice; and James Nyoraku Schlefer, shakuhachi. The first of the 10th Anniversary septet concerts. World premieres by Schlefer and Daron Hagen, plus the Ravel quartet.

ANNIVERSARY COMMISSIONING INITIATIVE

In addition to its regular commissioning, KSA is planning a two-season initiative of four septets for sankyoku trio (shakuhachi, koto, and shamisen with voice) and string quartet. The septet instrumentation is an inspiring combination, rich in the textures and sonorities that showcase the virtuosity of two rigorous traditions. It is also an ultimate cultural marriage - two iconic ensembles that both blossomed during the same historical period, one in the opulent court of the Esterházys and the other in the Imperial palaces of Edo Japan. The only extant work for this combination is Dream Corner, composed by Schlefer in 2013. Bringing four more such septets to the repertoire is a major contribution to the repertoire.

The composers are Daron Hagen and James Nyoraku Schlefer for 2019, premiering at Tenri on April 14, 2019, with the Cassatt Quartet and Yoko Sato and James Matheson for 2020, premiering at Tenri in Spring 2020 with the Arianna Quartet. At this time the project has three committed string quartet partners – the Arianna, Cassatt and Ciompi Quartets. The Arianna and Ciompi Quartets respectively anticipate performances at the University of St. Louis Missouri and Duke University.

Kenneth Woods, Cello, is an internationally acclaimed American cellist and conductor currently living in Wales. He has performed extensively as a chamber musician for almost three decades and as an orchestral soloist with ensembles including the Aspen Music Festival, the Grande Ronde Symphony, Cambridge Symphony,  Gonzaga Symphony, Boston Chamber Orchestra, Lancashire Chamber Orchestra, Blue Mountain Festival Chamber Orchestra, Oregon East Symphony, and the Madison Philomusica. He has been heard in radio broadcasts on NPR and the CBC, and recorded for Vienna Modern Masters. Woods is the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra as well as Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and the Elgar Festival in Worcester. As a guest artist, Woods has conducted ensembles including the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Royal  Northern Sinfonia and the English Chamber Orchestra, and has made numerous broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, National Public Radio and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Woods plays a cello of Italian origin believed to be made by Mariani in the mid-1600's. http://kennethwoods.net

RILEY LEE, SHAKUHACHI, is an American-born, Australian-based shakuhachi player and teacher. In 1980 he became the first non-Japanese person to attain the rank of Dai Shihan (grand master) in the shakuhachi tradition. He is a recipient of two of the most revered lineages of shakuhachi playing, descending from the original Zen Buddhist "priests of nothingness" of the Edo period. His first teachers were Hoshida Ichizan II and Chikuho Sakai II. A later teacher was the late Katsuya Yokoyama. Riley has been instrumental in creating a professional presence of traditional Japanese music in Australia. He has introduced the shakuhachi to a diverse audience as both a soloist and with other performers. He co-founded the Australian Shakuhachi Society in 1996. His request in 1988 to the Sawai Koto School in Japan that a koto player be sent to Australia facilitated the immigration to Australia of talented Satsuki Odamura. Also an accomplished Taiko performer, Riley co-founded TaikOz, a Japanese festival drum group based in Australia. It has since become one of Australia's premier performance groups, acclaimed both at home and in Japan. He has made over 60 professional recordings, many featuring his own compositions. http://rileylee.net/

JAMES NYORAKU SCHLEFER, SHAKUHACHI, is a Grand Master of the shakuhachi and one of only a handful of non-Japanese artists to have achieved this rank. He received the Dai-Shi-Han (Grand Master) certificate in 2001, and his second Shi-Han certificate in 2008, from the Mujuan Dojo in Kyoto. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Tanglewood and BAM, as well as multiple venues across the country and in Japan, Indonesia, Brazil and Europe. Schlefer first encountered the shakuhachi in 1979, while working towards a career as a flute player and pursuing an advanced degree in musicology. Today he is considered by his colleagues to be one of most influential Western practitioners of this distinctive art form. Known to his students as Nyoraku sensei, Schlefer established his own dojo in NYC in 1996. He also teaches shakuhachi at Columbia University, a broad spectrum of Western and World music courses at New York City College of Technology (CUNY), and performs and lectures at colleges and universities throughout the United States. As a composer, Schlefer has written multiple chamber and orchestral works combining Japanese and Western instruments as well as numerous pieces solely for traditional Japanese instruments. In December 2015, he was recognized by Musical America Worldwide as one of their “30 Top Professionals and Key Influencers” for his work both as a composer and Artistic Director of Kyo-Shin-An Arts. His writings about the shakuhachi and his career were published in 2018 on NewMusicBox and he was profiled by the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Arts Works Blog” in May 2016. His programming for Kyo-Shin-An Arts has also been recognized with two CMA/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming (2013 and 2016). His orchestral music can be heard on the recording Spring Sounds Spring Season MSR Classics. www.nyoraku.com

KYO-SHIN-AN ARTS: Kyo-Shin-An Arts' is a contemporary music organization with a mission to commission music and present concerts that bring Japanese instruments – specifically koto, shakuhachi and shamisen – to Western classical music. A 2016 and 2013 CMA/ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award winner (small presenter, mixed repertory), Kyo-Shin-An Arts will be presenting its 10h chamber music season at the Tenri Cultural Institute. KSA works in partnership with established ensembles and Western soloists, bridging two cultures by introducing composers and players alike to the range and virtuosity of Japanese instruments and the musicians who play them. The resulting music provides audiences with a unique introduction to traditional Japanese music within a familiar context and fabulous contemporary music. Concerts feature a blend of KSA commissions with World, American and NY premieres, traditional and contemporary music for Japanese instruments and Western repertoire. Current ensemble partners include the Cassatt and Voxare String Quartets in NYC, the Arianna and Ciompi in MO and NC, Ensemble Epomeo, Sybarite5, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra of the Swan in the UK. Players of Japanese instruments include Christopher Yohmei Blaisdel, Masayo Ishigure, Yoko Reikano Kimura, Nami Kineie, Yumi Kurosawa, Riley Lee, John Kaizan Neptune, Yoko Nishi, Akihito Obama and James Nyoraku Schlefer.  Commissioned composers to date include Victoria Bond, Chad Cannon, Ciara Cornelius, Douglas j Cuomo, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Daron Hagen, Matthew Harris, William Healy, Kento Iwasaki, Mari Kimura, Angel Lam, Daniel Levitan, Gilda Lyons, James Matheson, Paul Moravec, Mark Nowakowski, Yoko Sato, Somei Satoh, James Nyoraku Schlefer, Benjamin Verdery, Aleksandra Vrebalov and Randall Woolf, among others. www.kyoshinan.org

TENRI CULTURAL INSTITUTE AND KYO-SHIN-AN ARTS PRESENT: The excellent acoustics and intimate gallery setting of the Tenri Cultural Institute create a superb setting for listening to chamber music and offer audiences the rare opportunity to hear both traditional and contemporary music from two cultures in a setting similar to the music rooms of the courts and castles of both Europe and Japan. Over 300 years of chamber music tradition are presented throughout this series. Performances feature piano trios and string quartets from the great composers of Europe, music from Japan’s Edo period written for shamisen, koto and shakuhachi and contemporary music combining Western and Japanese instruments. http://artsat.tenri.org/

 

© 2018 Kyo-Shin-An Arts