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Kyo-Shin-An Arts to Present KANRECKI SURPRISE at 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 at the 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.

"KANREKI SURPRISE", a concert celebrating the 60th Birthday of KSA's Artistic Director, Shakuhachi Grand Master James Nyoraku Schlefer, will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2016, 7:30 PM at the Tenri Cultural Institute, 43A West 13th Street, New York City. Tickets $25 and $15 for students. Tickets at or 1-800-838-3006.

In Japan, the kanreki tradition (or 60th birthday celebration), symbolizes rebirth. It stretches back to Japan's adoption of the twelve-pronged, Chinese zodiac calendar through which a 60th birthday marks the completion of a full calendar cycle. Thus, upon reaching 60, a venerable individual may begin life again.

"Achievements are celebrated and a lifetime's troubles are forgotten as the celebrated individual enters a new stage of life with all the joy and possibilities of a newborn." - Andres Oliver for the Japan Society 2013In the traditional Japanese music world, a kanrecki is often marked by celebratory concert. KSA's celebration of James Nyoraku Schlefer honors him as both a performer and a composer. It will feature Schlefer performing his solo shakuhachi, Zen honkyoku "Brooklyn Sanya" (a composition with nearly 300,000 youtube plays) and a unique tribute of musical vignettes (30-60 sec. each) being written for the occasion by many of KSA's commissioned and featured composers. The instrumentation is piano trio and shaluhachi and the performers will be Nora Nohraku Suggs, shakuhachi; Muneko Otani, violin; Dorothy Lawson, cello; and Taka Kigawa, piano. They will also perform Mr. Schlefer's quartet, "Smile on a Buddha Calm." Participating composers to date: Victoria Bond, Chad Cannon, Daron Hagen, Matthew Harris, Kento Iwasaki, Mari Kimura, Angel Lam, Daniel Levitan, Gilda Lyons, James Matheson, Paul Moravec, Mark Nowakowski, Thomas Osborne, Charles Porter, Jay Reise, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Benjamin Verdery, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Donald Womack, Kenneth Woods and Randall Woolf.


Brooklyn Sanya - James Nyoraku Schlefer (2009)

Smile on a Buddha Calm - James Nyoraku Schlefer (2014)

The Birthday Tribute! - compiled with love and respect (2016)

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".

NORA NOHRAKU SUGGS studies shakuhachi with Grand Master James Nyoraku Schlefer, and earned both her Jun-shihan and Shihan certifications from his Kyo-Shin-An NYC dojo. She teaches, performs, and records on both shakuhachi and Western flute. Dr. Suggs is a graduate of Houston's Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine, with extensive private education in music and degrees in biology, English literature, medicine, and surgery. She has played in England, Canada, Japan, Italy, Alaska, and throughout the United States; and is now active as a teacher, recitalist and chamber musician in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. Dr. Suggs is the flutist and Artistic Director of the chamber music ensemble SATORI, and for over 15 years has also played in duos with classical guitar and flute; currently she performs and records with the Fairfield Duo. Current shakuhachi projects include traditional solo and sankyoku performances; WorldWind: featuring traditional and contemporary music for shakuhachi and clarinet; Shadows of the Samurai, a multidisciplinary project involving traditional Japanese ghost stories, music, storytelling, and art; and a series of performances with shakuhachi and classical guitar.

Violinist MUNEKO OTANI is first violinist of the Cassatt String Quartet with which she has performed in the US, Canada and Mexico as well as in Europe and Asia. Major venues have included Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Bastille Opera House. As a chamber musician, she has collaborated with Walter Trampler, Martin Lovett, Marc Johnson, Kazuhide Isomura, Masuko Ushioda and Lawrence Lesser. Otani is currently on the faculty of Columbia University, the Bowdoin International Festival, the Mannes College of Music as assistant to Lewis Kaplan and has taught at the Mozarteum Summer Academy in Salzburg. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in both performance and education from the Toho Academy of Music in Japan, where she studied with Toshiya Eto. She then continued her training at the New England Conservatory, where her principal teachers were Masuko Ushioda and Louis Krasner. Ms. Otani plays a 1770 J.B. Guadagnini of Parma violin.

Dorothy Lawson is a Canadian cellist and composer based in NYC. She is a co-founder and the Artistic Director of the renowned string quartet ETHEL and has performed extensively with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the White Oak Dance Project, Philharmonia Virtuosi, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and numerous new music ensembles. Dorothy served 10 years as faculty of Joseph Fuchs' Alfred University Summer Chamber Music Institute, and she teaches in the Preparatory Division of Mannes College at the New School in New York City. An original orchestra member of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years, and Broadway's The Woman in White, she is a member of acclaimed Brazilian jazz ensemble, Marcelo Zarvos +Group, and the Ron Carter Nonet.

Critically acclaimed pianist Taka Kigawa has performed extensively as a recitalist and soloist in New York, Washington DC, Boston, Cleveland, Paris, Milan and Barcelona, with appearances in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Kosciuszko Foundation, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Cité de la Musique, and Salle Gaveau in Paris, Plau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, and Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Kigawa grew up in Nagano, Japan, where he began piano studies at the age of three, winning his first competition at the age of seven and ultimately garnering outstanding international recognition as a recitalist, soloist, and chamber music artist after winning First Prize in the prestigious 1990 Japan Music Foundation Piano Competition in Tokyo and the Diploma Prize at the 1998 Concurs Internacional Maria Canals De Barcelona in Spain. His NYC recital in 2010 was chosen as one of the best concerts of the year by The New York Times. Following this accolade, his August 2011, NYC recital was selected as one of the most notable concerts of the 2011-2012 season by Musical America. In addition to his active NY schedule, Kigawa frequently tours in his native Japan, appearing in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagano and Kyoto, both as a recitalist and a soloist with orchestra and in chamber music groups.

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, 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.

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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