2010 / Koto artist Yoko Awaya to mark the 35th anniversary of launching koto school with a charity concert, Oct 23

Koto Awaya Yoko Portrait

Mme. Yoko Awaya’s will mark the 35th anniversary of launching her koto school in Los Angele. (Courtesy of the artist)

Cultural News, 2010 October Issue

Veteran koto artist and instructor Yoko Awaya will mark the 35th anniversary of launching the Yoko Awaya Koto Music Conservatory (aka Awaya-Kai) by presenting a koto charity concert on Saturday, October 23, at 2:00 p.m. at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach, CA 90278.

Mme. Awaya received her teaching and master’s degree from the famed Michio Miyagi School of Koto in Japan. In 1975, she founded the Awaya-Kai in order to promulgate koto and shamisen music while enhancing cultural awareness and appreciation. The conservatory was approved as a nonprofit organization in 1994.

The 35th anniversary concert’s production will include performances by Mme. Awaya and members of the Yoko Awaya Koto Music Conservatory as well as several distinguished guest artists and performers.

The concert will feature a special guest artist from Japan, Mme. Senba Kokun.  Mme. Senba is a renowned tsuzumi (hand-held drum) artist and instructor who has conducted workshops and seminars internationally and performs and tours extensively in Japan and the United States.

She will perform a duet with Mme. Awaya of classical pieces from “Rokudan” and “Midare” both composed by Yatsuhashi Kengyo in the 17th century.

The concert will also feature a variety of music from classical to contemporary and from Western to Japanese.  Pieces include 11 beats music “Sakura Eleven,” composed by Minoru Kato in 2006, accompanied by Jim Tompson on shakuhachi;

“Gake no ue no Ponyo” (Ponyo on a cliff), the theme song of Hayao Miyazaki’s animation, composed by Yuzuru Hisaishi;

“Yachiyojishi Henkyoku” (Eight Thousand Years of Eternal Happiness), arranged by Michiyo Miyagi, accompanied by Yoshie Teuffel on shinobue, and Bando Hidesomi of Japanese classical dance Bando School;

“Ryukyu Minyo ni yoru kumikyoku” (Folk Songs from Okinawa), arranged by Yutaka Makino in 1976, accompanied by Katsuko Teruya on koto, and Yonamine Keiko Okinawa Dance Group;

“Sunae” (Sand Picture), composed by Tadao Sawai in 1973, accompanied by Tetsuya Nakamura on taiko;

“A Medley of Japanese Children’s Songs” of six songs, arranged by Yoshihisa Sato, accompanied by Sakura Chorus with conductor Miyoko Hatae, and Japanese classical dance Bando Mistuhiro Kai;

Western classic “A Maiden’s Prayer” composed by Tekla Badarzewska, and “Crikos Post” composed by Necke Hermann.

As the finale, all conservatory members with most of the guest artists will stage to perform dynamic koto orchestral piece “Sakura – New Version” composed by Toshiko Mizuno.

Bill Crowley will be the Master of Ceremony and will perform Rakugo, traditional Japanese comedy storytelling.

General admissions are $25 if purchased in advance or $30 at the door.  Children (5-12 years old) tickets are $10.  Advance tickets are available as follows:

All American Tickets, www.allamerican-tkt.com, (888) 507-3287; Sakuraya, Gardena, (310) 323-7117; Hiromi Komiyama, hiromiko@cox.net; Sawtelle Books, West Los Angeles near Nijiya, (310) 477-8686; Satoe Kamikihara, Orange County, (714) 545-6083; Uyehara Travel, Little Tokyo, (213) 680-2499.

Tickets can also be purchased at the box office on the day of the concert.  For additional information, call (310) 329-5965 or (310) 791-1508.