Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (LCCE) opens its new season with Changing and Unchanging Things, a concert celebrating Japanese culture and its intersection with western classical music. The program features two world premieres: a new chamber work from Karen Tanaka, and Hiroya Miura’s micro opera Sharaku Unframed. A special salon event and preview with UC Berkeley scholar Elizabeth Berry, the composers, and musicians will be held at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum at 1:00pm on Saturday, October 5, 2019.
The world premiere of Sharaku Unframed, a micro-opera by Hiroya Miura, explores the mysteries surrounding 18th Century Japanese woodblock artist Toshusai Sharaku and features virtuoso shamisen player Hidejiro Honjoh, alongside guest baritone Daniel Cilli and Left Coast’s soprano Nikki Einfeld. Matilda Hofman conducts.
“Miura is a remarkable musician – extremely open and expressive, and interested in all forms of music making. His new micro-opera reflects the range of his significant gift,” said Kurt Rohde, LCCE Artistic Advisor. “Since Hiroya is from Japan, and his topic (the woodblock artist Sharaku) comes from Japanese culture, it seemed that a program built upon the impact of Asian and Southeast Asian music was the obvious place to build the rest of the program.” The concert includes the Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp by Claude Debussy, famously inclined toward Japanese music, along with a piece by Dai Fujikura, and a new work by Karen Tanaka. For this concert set, Left Coast is also joined by the accomplished marimbist Haruka Fujii.
The new chamber piece from Tanaka, Wind Whisperer, is inspired by the Asian Art Museum’s current exhibit Changing and Unchanging Things—about Noguchi and Hasegawa, two artists who explored intersections of Japanese and Western visual art. “The title, Wind Whisperer, suggests that two great masters’ spirits encounter in the wind, without a barrier between east and west,” explained Tanaka. The piece is composed for flute, viola and harp. Guest harpist Jennifer Ellis joins the ensemble for these premiere performances.