Four Seasons in New York
Saturday, August 28 at 8:00 p.m. through Tuesday, August 31 at 11:30 p.m. EDT
Enjoy the beauty of Japanese music at the 20th concert of the Four Seasons in New York series, which celebrates its 20th installment this weekend.
About the Event
Koto and shamisen player Yoko Reikano Kimura began this concert series in the fall of 2015. As a Japanese instrumentalist, she hopes to introduce the brilliance of traditional Japanese music, which is still being passed on to future generations after many centuries. Starting with the 2018-19 season, the series has featured contemporary pieces composed by living composers as well. Since the first concert, Kimura has introduced more than 50 works from the classical. This online concert was recorded at the White Room (Center for Remembering and Sharing) with support from Mar Creation, Inc.
Ishiyama Genji – Jo [part 1] — Chiyoda-kengyo, composer
Kaze no Satouta (Singing in the Wind) for violin and koto — Jiro Censhu, composer
Introductory remarks by Dr. Melissa McCormick, Professor of Japanese Art and Culture, Harvard University
Keiko Tokunaga, violin
About Melissa McCormick
Dr. Melissa McCormick is Professor of Japanese Art and Culture at Harvard University, where she has taught since 2005. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan (1990), and her Ph.D. from Princeton University (2000). She has won numerous grants and awards and has lectured around the world, including guest professorships at the University of Campinas in Brazil and the University of Zurich.
Professor McCormick is the author of Tosa Mitsunobu and the Small Scroll in Medieval Japan, which takes a holistic approach to the analysis of illustrated handscrolls through the analysis of text and image in combination with historical research. Her research on the scroll format in Japan also informs part of her free online course, Japanese Books: From Manuscript to Print, centered on examples from Harvard’s museums and libraries.
As one of the world’s leading experts on The Tale of Genji, Professor McCormick’s research has been featured in two NHK televised specials in 2008 and 2019, and she has produced more than a dozen publications on the tale in English and Japanese. Her book The Tale of Genji: A Visual Companion provides fifty-four interpretive essays on the content of each chapter of The Tale of Genji as well as visual readings of the symbiotic relationship of calligraphy and image in the album’s paired leaves. In 2019 she guest curated the international loan exhibition The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, named one of the top five exhibitions that year by The Washington Post.
About Keiko Tokunagara
Winner of the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/ Small Ensemble Performance, violinist Keiko Tokunaga spends most of her days touring and performing globally as a soloist and chamber musician. She performed, toured, and recorded extensively with the internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet from 2005 to 2019 and has soloed with various orchestras including the Spanish National Orchestra, Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, and Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Orchestra.
Strings Magazine praised her for possessing a sound “with probing quality that is supple and airborne” and for her “pure, pellucid bow strokes.”
In 2021, Tokunagara founded an online concert series, Jukebox Concerts, to provide an artistic outlet for musicians who lost their engagements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The performances were available not only to the subscribers, but also to residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country. She also performed several Zoom concerts for patients in hospitals on behalf of Project: Music Heals Us, New Asia Chamber Music Society, and Crescent City Chamber Music Festival.
When she is not on the road, Tokunagara enjoys her career as an educator. She is currently on faculty at The Juilliard School’s Pre-College as well as Fordham University. She maintains a private violin studio in New York City.
About Yoko Reikano Kimura
Yoko Reikano Kimura has concertized in about 20 countries around the world based in New York and Japan. The New York Times described her playing and singing as “superb.”
Her awards include the First Prize at the prestigious 10th Kenjun Memorial National Koto Competition, the First Prize at the 4th Great Wall International Music Competition, and a scholarship from the Agency of Cultural Affairs of Japan. Following her studies at the Tokyo University of the Arts, she studied at Institute of Traditional Japanese Music, an affiliate of Senzoku Gakuen College of Music in Japan, where she was a faculty member until 2010. Her teachers include Kono Kameyama, Akiko Nishigata, and Senko Yamabiko, a Living National Treasure.
As a koto soloist, Kimura has performed Daron Hagen’s Koto Concerto: Genji with the Wintergreen Music Festival Orchestra conducted by Mei-Ann Chen and several string quartets. In 2021, Kimura gave the Japan premiere performance of Hagen’s concerto with the string members of New Japan Philharmonic. Her performances have featured at renowned opera and theater works, such as Michi Wiancko’s Murasaki’s Moon, Piestro Mascagni’s Iris by American Symphony Orchestra, Yokoshi Yasuko’s Bell, Basil Twist’s Dogugaeshi, and Heiner Goebbels’ Hashirigaki.
Kimura has performed at prestigious venues such as Warsaw Autumn Festival, Israel Festival, Nova Arts in Bordeaux, John F. Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum, the United Nations, Japan Society, and Asia Society Texas Center.
Kimura is the co-founder of Duo YUMENO with cellist Hikaru Tamaki. The duo received the Kyoto Aoyama Barock Saal Award in 2015 and were featured at Chamber Music America’s 2016 National Conference. The duo held its tenth anniversary recital at Carnegie Hall in 2019.