Reiko Yamada’s Virtual Concert to Kick Off Japan Society’s Performing Arts Season

Reiko Yamada: Sound Installation for Silent Films

Premieres October 21 at 8:00 p.m.

Streaming on

Admission: $15/$12 Japan Society members

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Japan Society has moved its programming for the Fall 2020/Winter 2021 Performing Arts Season into the online arena with a robust selection of North American premieres in the fields of both theater and music. With New York City still in the thrall of social distancing, these storytelling-focused events offer new ways of connecting audiences and artists across oceans to share unhindered moments of inspiration and reflection.

The opening program of Japan Society’s Performing Arts Season will feature the commissioned world premiere of a new solo work combining live performance and silent film from the Barcelona-based composer and musician Reiko Yamada.

Yamada’s cinematic-sound installation breathes new life into rare Japanese short-subject cinema in this innovative interdisciplinary collaboration. Yamada bridges time and space with the use of period-specific accordions, processed through the latest technologies in electronic instrumentation and telecommunications. Yamada’s novel methods of sound exploration are at once ahistorical and deeply grounded in our current, separated moment.

Reiko Yamada Annette © Carolyn Drake

“Painfully dependent on the internet for connection”

In a statement, Yamada says that “during the pandemic, our everyday lives have been greatly compromised, leaving us at times painfully dependent on the internet for connection. But while some advances in technology take a center stage in this climate, others that changed the world but have since become commonplace—cinema, instantly available music, global transportation—have been halted. The three antique films that I have selected for this concert —a reel of sumo wrestling matches, an almost abstract animation, and a documentary on the history of railroads in Japan—were the new technologies of their day, light entertainments in the truest sense. Recontextualizing these movies as ‘streaming performances’ supported by music provides me a canvas to present our relationship to entertainment over time.”

This streaming performance, taped live from the artist’s home, is scheduled to debut online on Wednesday, October 21 at 8:00pm. Immediately following the concert, ticket buyers will take part in a live, audience-interactive talkback forum, moderated by Japan Society’s Artistic Director, Yoko Shioya.

Tape of the concert and talkback will be accessible for rental available to purchase on demand through November 4. Ticket buyers may re-view the concert and talkback at any time between the premiere through November 4.

To purchase tickets, please visit Japan Society’s website. All proceeds help support future programming at Japan Society.

You can get a glimpse of Yamada’s creative process in 85% Broken, a 2016 short documentary film that follows her through a small Mississippi town.

About Reiko Yamada

Reiko Yamada is a composer and sound artist, originally from Hiroshima, Japan. She composes concert works, creates sound art installations, and works with interdisciplinary collaborators. Her work explores the aesthetic concept of imperfection in a variety of contexts.

Yamada holds a Doctor of Music in composition from McGill University and is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards and fellowships. Her works have been presented in venues such as The Metropolitan Museum Breuer (New York), Boston Symphony Hall, and Centre Pompidou (Paris). She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences and artist-in-residency at Phonos Foundation.

To learn more about Yamada and her works, please visit her website.

Featured photo of Reiko Yamada © Carolyn Drake