Maestro Hideaki Bunno, former Director of the Gagaku Orchestra at the Tokyo Imperial Palace and living national treasure of Japan, brings to California his new Gagaku ensemble, composed of former directors of the Imperial Palace Orchestra as lead instrumentalists as well as major Gagaku musicians from all over Japan. Maestro Bunno is the 36th generation of a family that has transmitted the art of the shō (a type of mouth organ, an instrument unique to Gagaku) for more than 1300 years; in 2009 he received the prestigious prize of the Japanese Academy of the Arts.
The Gagaku orchestra at the Imperial Palace of Japan was established in 701; its music is recognized by the government of Japan as a national intangible cultural property, and by UNESCO as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
Produced by Naoyuki Manabe, the performance at Stanford includes pieces from all genres of the classical Gagaku repertory: representative pieces of instrumental music (kangen), vocal music (including ancient secret songs Kagura-uta performed at Shinto ceremonies at the imperial palace), and dance pieces (Bugaku).
This performance offers a unique glimpse in the fascinating world of Gagaku, the classical music and dance of the Imperial Court of Japan and an important component of Buddhist and Shinto liturgies. Internationally recognized as the most ancient living musical tradition in the world and as a cultural patrimony of humanity, this music is exceptional in its combination of an archaic allure with unexpected contemporary features (free rhythms, complex sound clusters, controlled dissonance).
This concert is part of a two-date California tour, the first performance of this ensemble in the United States. A full Gagaku ensemble from Japan has not performed in northern California in decades. Please join us for this special performance!
With support from: The Japan Foundation and the Arts Council Tokyo