今年秋天,ACTA长期的导师艺术家和日本koto的艺术大师, Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto, was invited to curate an exchange between Western classical music and Japanese classical music by the 旧金山 Symphony as part of their CURRENTS online program. 结果是一个美丽的 featuring Shirley alongside 旧金山 Symphony musicians in a program that celebrates the elegant power of an instrument to connect across genres.

雪莉将节目命名为“Niji”虹(彩虹), because “because it represents a rainbow of different people and different things in the 海湾地区 that (she’s) had the fortune to connect with and collaborate with and share music with.“终生都在练琴, 一种13弦的古筝,是日本的民族乐器, Shirley参加了多个ACTA项目, 通过ACTA指导三个不同的古筝学生 学徒计划. Shirley talked to ACTA Program Manager 莉莉Kharrazi about what the collaboration with the SF Symphony meant to her as a traditional culture bearer in the 海湾地区.


The SF Symphony was looking to feature a collaboration between Japanese traditional music and classical music. Yuriko Fujita of the “Sharaku” store in SF Japantown—which sells Japanese music instruments and supplies—suggested me for the project to Casey Daliyo, 在旧金山交响乐团做制作的人. I have been performing and teaching Japanese koto in the 海湾地区 for over 60 years, 也许这就是为什么百合子会推荐我来做这个项目.


雪莉和爵士竖琴音乐家德斯特妮·穆罕默德. 图片由Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto提供.

我很荣幸旧金山交响乐团找到我来策划这一集. I have performed with several orchestras, so I had an idea what could work and what might not. 虽然他们说我不需要尝试在作品中加入交响乐成员, 我想借此机会与交响音乐家合作. 我知道旧金山交响乐团的音乐家都是优秀的艺术家, 所以这是一个和他们一起表演的好机会!

当我接到不同项目的邀请时, 我一直在寻找扩展古筝音乐界限的方法. 这一次,我选择了更现代的数字,以吸引西方观众. 我也弹爵士琴, 所以我觉得和管弦乐队一起演奏爵士音乐会很有趣, 也, 这两种类型的音乐都有点“跳出框框”. 管弦乐和日本音乐通常被认为更古典, 所以一个东西方爵士乐融合表演的机会太诱人了,让我无法放弃!

Can you comment on koto as a classical art form, different from a vernacular or folk form?

古筝是在公元8世纪作为宫廷合奏音乐的一部分从中国传入的th 世纪,后来开始受到富裕贵族的青睐.  12岁时th 世纪,古筝也被改编为佛教仪式的伴奏歌曲. 但这只发生在16个国家th century when the prototype of today’s koto music was developed with the innovation of the priest Kenjun.  古筝音乐在17世纪得到进一步发展th 由一位名叫Yatsuhashi Kengyo的盲人宫廷音乐家创作, 从剑君的弟子那里学琴的人.  矢桥开始向贵族以外的人传授琴.  他被认为是现代古筝音乐之父. Yatsuhashi于1685年去世,同年约翰·塞巴斯蒂安·巴赫出生.

I feel that there is a correlation of Japanese classical koto to Western European chamber music.  传统的古筝音乐沉稳优雅, 这反映了它作为日本国乐器的头衔.

现在, you can hear koto in everything from folk songs to pop music which was definitely not the case until more recently.  基本上,现在什么都可以.

2019年,雪莉在她的家庭工作室. 照片:J. 詹姆逊/学报.


我是玩传统古筝长大的, believing that the only kind of music that could be played on the koto was classical or what was composed by the main head master.  因为古筝音乐有这种贵族背景, 尝试“打破常规”并不容易,可以这么说. 在过去,一个人甚至不允许演奏来自另一个琴派的音乐. 现在的情况更开放了, 但是对学校的忠诚仍然是很重要的. To be asked to perform with a world renowned and highly decorated orchestra such as the SF Symphony can be thought of as performing “outside of the box,在某种程度上.

在我的koto学校, 千古学派, 学校的创始人, Chikushi Katsuko, 为koto管弦乐队创作了第一部作品, 交响乐团和唱诗班, 叫做“千古记”.“所以,以这种方式表演是她愿景的延续. 她也是一位创新者. This was an opportunity to bring the koto further forward in my personal quest to make sure that the future of koto music in the United States continues.

My added incentive is to honor koto teachers who were imprisoned in the American concentration camps during WWII taught students while in camp, 包括我的母亲. 因为他们的决心和对艺术的热爱,即使在那种难以想象的情况下, 我觉得我有责任确保古筝音乐在美国继续下去.S. 以他们的名义.

和旧金山交响乐团一起演出感觉像被认可了吗?  这和你自己社区的认可有什么不同?

L to R: Shirley’s son and bass koto musician Brian Mitsuhiro Wong, Shirley, and conductor Ming Luke. 图片由Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto提供.

当一个人练习传统艺术时, one would hope that the core community where those arts come from would appreciate the arts of their heritage. I mentioned the history of Japanese Americans put into prisons during WWII including members of my own family. The stigma and the trauma felt by Japanese Americans of this time led them to feel they were not American enough. Many people from my community shunned Japanese cultural arts as they came out of the camps feeling that it was more important for them to prove they were loyal Americans by becoming “110% American.”

My hope is that this collaboration might bring respect and understanding to my own Japanese American community because these traditional arts are wonderful and beautiful.

这就是为什么我在演奏的每首曲子中都穿着不同的和服, 也, 展示美丽的和服艺术. 也, 作为一种传统艺术的实践者, 我们大多数传统艺术家真的很喜欢这些艺术, 这就是我们做这些的原因!  我们不期待任何认可或荣誉.  That’s why people who do traditional arts are so dedicated to them and have so much heart in them.


一个不同的概念是有一个指挥来指导音乐.  在日本音乐中, 这基本上是靠感觉, and musicians rehearse and rehearse so they know how the music is going to go without even looking up. When you’re playing the shamisen, you are not even to look at your hands on the neck.

否则,音乐的语言是通用的. There really isn’t anything to “translate” because it’s all in the feeling of the music, 这在某种程度上是可以理解的.

此外,日本音乐的主题往往围绕着自然.  我们演奏的乐曲, 翻译过来是“田园牧歌”,河流流向瀑布的“流量”, 和“彩虹.当我学小提琴的时候,大部分的音乐都是《hg体育平台》、《hg体育平台》. 诸如此类的. 但即使没有主题,你仍然可以从音乐中听到感情.

What kinds of work would you like to do with future East/West collaborations (if that is a fair way to characterize this work)?

我喜欢来自世界各地的音乐——东方、西方、北方和南方. I even varied the types of pieces in this 集: the first number was based on western scales; the second number was based on a Latin tuning; and the third number was based on an Asian pentatonic scale. I wouldn’t want to restrict myself because there are interesting and creative sounds from all over the globe. 我对世界上许多艺术家的音乐持开放态度,并与他们合作过, 舞蹈与艺术, 让我保持创造力,开放,对自己的音乐感兴趣.  I do try to work within the traditional tunings and techniques to keep the natural voice of the koto. 就在湾区, 通过这种方式,我能够与许多不同的人和艺术家合作, 所以我才一直住在这里.

What if anything would you like our readers to understand about the traditional arts and their relationship to other art forms?

传统艺术有点像学习历史. 当你学习历史的时候, 你知道今天的事情是怎么发生的, 以及将来会发生什么. Studying traditional arts is the foundation of a particular art practice and also a glimpse into the soul of a culture. Once you understand the sound and the words and the rhythms and how they came to be, 它更有趣和乐趣! 古典和传统艺术都在讲述一个故事. 你会对那里的人和文化有更多的了解. Sometimes you understand it and sometimes you don’t, but music is a language of feeling. 我的日语说得不流利,所以我并不总是知道所有单词的意思, 但这并不意味着我不能演奏或演唱它.

你来自哪里并不重要,即使它不是你背景的一部分. 只要你仔细听,任何人都能理解.

雪莉和她的2019年ACTA学徒在日本koto Bo Shannon Chappel. 照片:J. 詹姆逊/学报.


Click here to listen to the full program that Shirley curated and performed alongside the SF Symphony!