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Kyo-Shin-An Arts to Bring EXPLODING CHRYSANTHEMUMS to Tenri Cultural Institute

Kyo-Shin-An Arts to Bring EXPLODING CHRYSANTHEMUMS to Tenri Cultural Institute

A 2016 and 2013 CMA/ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award Winner, Kyo-Shin-An Arts is a contemporary music organization dedicated to the integration of the Japanese instruments koto, shakuhachi and shamisen into Western classical composition.

Kyo-Shin-An Arts' award-winning concert series, presented in collaboration with Arts at Tenri Cultural Institute in Manhattan, features a blend of KSA commissions with World, American and NY premieres, traditional and contemporary music for Japanese instruments and Western repertoire.

EXPLODING CHRYSANTHEMUMS is set for Sunday, November 19, 2017, at 4:00 PM at Tenri Cultural Institute, 43A West 13th Street, New York City. Tickets are $25/15 at or 1-800-838-3006.

Japanese and Western sounds blend in a dynamic program of contemporary music for shakuhachi, soprano and piano trio. Featuring three World premiere commissions from Kyo-Shin-An Arts: Spell No. 8 by Aleksandra Vrebalov (soprano, shakuhachi and piano trio); No Fear (Of Silence) by Douglas J. Cuomo (shakuhachi and cello); and Generations by Ciara Cornelius (soprano, shakuhachi and cello). Plus the reprise of Randall Woolf's Hollow (piano trio and shakuhachi) and songs for piano and soprano by Michael Torke, Paul Moravec and Ricky Ian Gordon.

This program will include a post-performance, composer panel and discussion about writing for the shakuhachi, moderated by James Nyoraku Schlefer and featuring Aleksandra Vrebalov, Douglas J. Cuomo, Ciara Cornelius and Randall Woolf.

WINTER/SPRING 2018 - upcoming programs:

Kammerraku Frost

Sunday, February 25, 2019 at 4:00 PM

Elegant music for string quartet with shamisen and shakuhachi. The Voxare String Quartet with James Nyoraku Schlefer, shakuhachi and Yoko Reikano Kimura, shamisen performing "String Journey" for shamisen and quartet by Schlefer and "Floating Bridge of Heaven" for shakuhachi, shamisen and quartet by Donald Womack. Plus string quartets TBD.

Sakura Smash

Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Cherry Blossoms have never been so much fun! Presented in collaboration with Cutting Edge Concerts at Symphony Space, this concert features the amazing string quintet Sybarite5 and James Nyoraku Schlefer, shakuhachi, performing Paul Moravec's Shakuhachi Concerto and the premiere of a new sextet by Schlefer. The program will also feature the continued evolution of Rashomon, for shakuhachi and strings, by Victoria Bond and an additional composer to be selected by Sybarite5.

Rose Music

Sunday, May 20, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Celebrate the season with the melodic and percussive beauty of music for piano and Japanese instruments. Featuring duos by Mari Kimura, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Katsutoshi Nagasawa and Yumi Hara Cawkwell, plus a Kyo-Shin-An Arts commission from Douglas J. Cuomo for piano, shamisen and shakuhachi. Featuring: Taka Kigawa, piano | Yoko Reikano Kimura, shamisen and koto | James Nyoraku Schefer, shakuhachi


Jennifer Aylmer, soprano, is accomplished in opera, oratorio, concert, recital and chamber music. She has been a featured soloist with many orchestras including the Cincinnati, Alabama, Kansas City, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Phoenix, San Diego and National Symphony Orchestras, the Grand Teton and Aspen Festival Orchestras, and the Beijing Music Festival. Her prolific roster of performances includes appearances with the Metropolitan Opera, Dallas Opera, Portland Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, New York City Opera, Minnesota Opera, Florentine Opera, Opera Boston, Atlanta Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Orlando Opera, Utah Opera, the Aspen Festival, Kentucky Opera, Berkshire Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera. She particularly noted for her work in newly composed American music, including her 2005 Metropolitan Opera debut as Bella in the world premiere of Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy. Other premieres have included Martha in Kirke Meachem's John Brown with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Rowena in Augusta Read Thomas' Ligeia, and as Cynthia Reid in Bernard Rands' Belladonna with the Aspen Music Festival. At Houston Grand Opera, she created the role of Amy in Mark Adamo's Little Women.

Ms. Aylmer holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Westminster Choir College, and was a member of both the Juilliard Opera Center and the Houston Grand Opera Studio Programs. Her honors and awards include a Career Grant from the Sullivan Foundation, the Richard F. Gold Career Grant, the National Society of Arts and Letters, and the Catherina Filene Shouse Career Grant from the Wolf Trap Opera Company. She currently holds the position of Assistant Professor of Voice at Carnegie Mellon University.

JAMES NYORAKU SCHLEFER is a Grand Master of the shakuhachi and one of only a handful of non-Japanese artists to have achieved this rank. He received the Dai-Shi-Han (Grand Master) certificate in 2001, and his second Shi-Han certificate in 2008, from the Mujuan Dojo in Kyoto. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Tanglewood and BAM, as well as multiple venues across the country and in Japan, Indonesia, Brazil and Europe. Mr. Schlefer first encountered the shakuhachi in 1979, while working towards a career as a flute player and pursuing an advanced degree in musicology at CUNY (Queens College.) Today, he is considered by his colleagues to be one of most influential Western practitioners of this distinctive art form. As a composer, Mr. Schlefer has written multiple chamber and orchestral works combining Japanese and Western instruments as well as numerous pieces solely for traditional Japanese instruments. Mr. Schlefer is the Artistic Director of Kyo-Shin-An Arts and the curator for the Japanese music series at the Tenri Cultural Institute in NYC. He teaches shakuhachi at Columbia University, a broad spectrum of Western and World music courses at New York City Technical College (CUNY), and performs and lectures at colleges and universities throughout the United States. In December 2015, Mr. Schlefer was recognized by Musical America Worldwide for his work both as a composer and as Artistic Director of Kyo-Shin-An Arts, as one of their "30 Top Professionals and Key Influencers".

Kathleen Supové, piano. In May 2012, Kathleen Supové received the John Cage Award from ASCAP for "the artistry and passion with which she performs, commissions, records, and champions the music of our time." Kathleen Supové is one of America's most acclaimed and versatile new music pianists, continually redefining the pianist/keyboardist/performance artist in today's world. Ms. Supové presents solo concerts under the moniker THE EXPLODING PIANO. A striking presence onstage, she has performed with computers, boxing gloves, robots, and laptop orchestra. Recent projects include two solo CDs: The Debussy Effect, on New Focus Recordings (La Barbara-Clark-Marks-Felsenfeld-Woolf-Gosfield-Cooper), the result of a multi-composer commissioning project; and Eye To Ivory, (Childs-Woolf-Barash-Didkovsky-Naphtali), with vocalizing, extended techniques, Yamaha Disklavier, and noise-based effects, to be released on Starkland in 2018. Visit or follow on Facebook

Jennifer Choi, violin, has charted a career that breaks through the conventional boundaries of solo violin, chamber music, and the art of creative improvisation - from Bach to Zorn and back. A prominent chamber musician, Ms. Choi has performed for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Guggenheim Museum, MOMA, Ravinia Festival, Barge Music, Caramoor Music, Strathmore Mansion series, and numerous series across the United States, Canada, and Europe. A former violinist of the Miró String Quartet, she has also been a member of Fireworks Ensemble, Sirius String Quartet, the Susie Ibarra Trio, and toured with the string quartet known as ETHEL during their 2011-2012 season. Currently, she is the violinist of the Either/Or Ensemble and Classical Jam. 2016 season highlights included a collaboration with TALUJON Percussion Ensemble in Lou Harrison's Concerto for Violin and Percussion, performances of Györgi Ligeti's Horn Trio, and new and improvised projects with composer/performers C.E. Smith, Trevor Dunn, and Jerome Begin. A dedicated music educator, she is also a Teaching Artist for the New York Philharmonic Education Department, and the 92nd Street Y. Ms. Choi can be heard on over a dozen albums for TZADIK record label in compositions by new music icons such as John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, Wadada Leo Smith, and the Susie Ibarra Trio, as well as on her self-released album, VIOLECTRICA- Works for Solo Violin and Electronics.

Wendy Law, cello, has appeared as soloist with renowned orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Singapore Symphony, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Russian Philharmonic, and Juilliard Orchestra. Ms. Law has performed in venues including General Assembly at the United Nations, Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the J.F. Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., and Jordan Hall, Boston. An active chamber musician, she has collaborated with the Borromeo String Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma and Pamela Frank among others. In addition to her active performance schedule, Ms. Law is a Teaching Artist at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and founder and Artistic Director of Classical Jam and a member of The Voxare String Quartet. She is a graduate of the Juilliard School, and the New England Conservatory, |


ALEKSANDRA VREBALOV has written works ranging from concert music, to opera, dance (Rambert Dance UK, Dusan Tynek Dance Theater, Take Dance, Scottish National Ballet, Augsburg Theater), to sound installations in collaboration with architect Ronit Eisenbach. Her most recent works have been commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Kronos Quartet, Belgrade Philharmonic, and Limon Dance. Vrebalov, a fellow of MacDowell Colony, Rockefeller Bellagio Center, Djerassi, The Hermitage, and Tanglewood, is the recipient of The Harvard Fromm Commission, The American Academy of Arts and Letters Charles Ives Fellowship, and two Golden Badges from her homeland: one for Vrebalov's opera Mileva and its contribution to Serbian opera, and the other for a lifelong contribution to Serbian culture. Vrebalov's works have been recorded for Nonesuch, Cantaloupe, Innova, Centaur Records, and VMM. Her two works for Kronos Quartet, Beyond Zero: 1914 - 1918 and The Sea Ranch Songs, are available as DVDs with films by Bill Morrison and Andrew Lyndon. Apart from her new opera, Abraham in Flames, Vrebalov's work this season centers on Asian music with two new pieces: one with shakuhachi, commissioned by Kyo-Shin-An Arts, to be premiered by New York's shakuhachi Grand Master, James Nyoraku Schlefer; and the other with ancient Chinese instruments for The Forbidden City Orchestra in Beijing. Her children's ballet The Widow's Broom (2004), based on Chris Van Allsburg's story, will be done again this season at the Festival Ballet Providence as the company's Halloween favorite! Ms. Vrebalov lives in New York City.

Douglas J. Cuomo has composed highly acclaimed and original music for concert and theatrical stages, television, and ?lm. His music, with in?uences from jazz, world music, classical, and popular sources, is as personal, distinctive, and recognizable as it is wide-ranging. His compositions range from well-known television themes - for Sex and the City and Now with Bill Moyers, among others - to evening-length works for theater, including the operas Doubt and Arjuna's Dilemma. His expressive musical language, with its arresting juxtapositions of sound and style, is a natural outgrowth of his eclectic background and training. He became a professional guitarist while still in his teens, alternating years of college - studying jazz, world music and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University in Connecticut - with years on the road playing in jazz, pop and funk bands. His most recent cross-cultural ensemble is "Turquoise Lake", which he is co-leading with Afghan-born singer Humayun Khan. Mr. Cuomo has received numerous grants and awards including: OPERA America Opera Fund Grant; two National Endowment of the Arts awards for Artistic Excellence in the Creation and Development of New Work; two NYSCA commissioning grants; American Music Center's Composer Assistance grant; NYSCA recording grant; Argosy Foundation Grant; Mary Flagler Carey Charitable Trust for development, and three BMI Television Music Awards. Residencies include the MacDowell Colony, The Hermitage Foundation, and Blue Mountain Artist Colony.

Ciara Cornelius was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently a junior at The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College where she is pursuing a BA in General Music with a minor in Music and Production. Ciara is a member of The Os Ensemble, an SATB group created to premiere Eve O'Donnell's Arctic Water at National Sawdust. Prior to College, she was a member of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus for eight years, performing in prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Radio City Music Hall, BAM Harvey Theater, The Barbican Centre in London, and at the Barclays Center with Barbra Streisand. While at BYC she was inspired to study music and composition through both her participation in the 2013 Cincinnati Music NOW Festival and the influences of all of the composers of the Black Mountain Songs Project (Bryce Dessner, Richard Reed Parry, Aleksandra Vrebalov, John King, Caroline Shaw, Nico Muhly, and Jherek Bischoff), which premiered at the BAM Harvey Theater in 2014. In 2016-17, while at the University of Delaware, Ciara studied composition with Dr. Jennifer Barker. Her first SSA choral piece, Kin, was premiered there in Spring 2017. Ciara's composition for Kyo-Shin-An Arts is her first professional commission.

KYO-SHIN-AN ARTS: Kyo-Shin-An Arts' is a contemporary music organization with a mission to commission music and present concerts that bring Japanese instruments - specifically koto, shakuhachi and shamisen - to Western classical music. A 2016 and 2013 CMA/ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award winner (small presenter, mixed repertory), Kyo-Shin-An Arts will be presenting its 7h chamber music season at the Tenri Cultural Institute.. KSA works in partnership with established ensembles and Western soloists, bridging two cultures by introducing composers and players alike to the range and virtuosity of Japanese instruments and the musicians who play them. The resulting music provides audiences with a unique introduction to traditional Japanese music within a familiar context and fabulous contemporary music. Current ensemble partners include the Cassatt and Voxare String Quartets in NYC, the Arianna and Ciompi in MO and NC, Ensemble Epomeo, Sybarite5, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra of the Swan in the UK. Players of Japanese instruments include Christopher Yohmei Blaisdel, Masayo Ishigure, Yoko Reikano Kimura, Nami Kineie, Yumi Kurosawa, Riley Lee, John Kaizan Neptune, Yoko Nishi, Akihito Obama and James Nyoraku Schlefer. Commissioned composers to date include Victoria Bond, Chad Cannon, Ciara Cornelius, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Daron Hagen, Matthew Harris, William Healy, Kento Iwasaki, Mari Kimura, Angel Lam, Daniel Levitan, Gilda Lyons, James Matheson, Paul Moravec, Mark Nowakowski, Somei Satoh, James Nyoraku Schlefer, Benjamin Verdery and Randall Woolf.

TENRI CULTURAL INSTITUTE AND KYO-SHIN-AN ARTS PRESENT: The excellent acoustics and intimate gallery setting of the Tenri Cultural Institute create a superb setting for listening to chamber music and offer audiences the rare opportunity to hear both traditional and contemporary music from two cultures in a setting similar to the music rooms of the courts and castles of both Europe and Japan. Over 300 years of chamber music tradition are presented throughout this series. Performances feature piano trios and string quartets from the great composers of Europe, music from Japan's Edo period written for shamisen, koto and shakuhachi and contemporary music combining Western and Japanese instruments.

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