|Seiji Ozawa infuses New York with Japan.|
Everyone knows how to get to Carnegie Hall (practice!), but who knew once you got there it would be a trip around the world!
A true New York institution, Carnegie Hall is what people think of when they dream of the world's finest Western classical music and its best performers. Carnegie Hall has also taken on the role of cultural ambassador, presenting stimulating series of world music. Last year they gave us the inspired Ancient Path, Modern Voices Chinese series, and this year they've outdone themselves with a staggering feast of Japanese culture.
JapanNYC is a citywide festival that "explores the Japan of today, where newfound artistic sensibilities continue to transform and revitalize the cultural landscape." The festival features some 65 Japan-related events, including several Carnegie Hall produced concerts featuring world renowned artists, traditional and new Japanese theater, manga workshops, film, butoh dance, pop art exhibitions, and a variety of music genres.
Sprawling from December through April, JapanNYC was spirited by the legendary conductor Seiji Ozawa, who conducts two main event concerts with Japanese ensembles he has established. On December 14, he officially launches the festival with the Saito Kinen Orchestra. The program features a U.S. premiere co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall from composer Gondai Atsuhiko, Mitsuko Uchida performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, and what is sure to be a luscious performance of Brahm's first (there will be an encore performances of this program on December 15 and 18). Maestro Ozawa delivers another cornerstone concert in the second half of the festival March-April with a rare overseas appearances by the Seiji Ozawa Ongaku-juku.
Honored to be part of the festival, Japan Society's contributions include the classic Zen painting exhibit The Sound of One Hand (through January 9), the contemporary Japanese visual art show Bye Bye Kitty!!! (opens March 18), and rare performances of ancient noh and kyogen theater (March 24-26.
While the full schedule is wonderfully overwhelming, December highlights, in addition to those mentioned above, include:
Takemitsu Film Festival – A 14 Day film fest showing films that were scored by famed Japanese composer, Toru Takemitsu presented by Film Forum. Begins December 3.
Calligraphy and Manga Education Events – The New York Public Library hosts teen manga-drawing workshops with Misako Rocks. December 9, 16.
Peter and the Wolf – Guggenheim Museum presents contemporary performance of the famous Russian tale featuring an installation inspired by contemporary Japanese anime and features a newly commissioned visual concept by Japanese artist Rei Sato. December 11, 12, 17, 18.
Winds and Strings of Change: Glories of the Japanese Traditional Music Heritage – Another tribute to Toru Takemitsu featuring the use of traditional Japanese instruments such as the Biwa, the Shakuhachi and the Koto presented at the Miller Theater. December 16.
A Tribute to Toru Takemitsu – Held at Zankel Hall, this performance will feature some improvisations on Takemitsu’s film scores. December 17.
Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool – Asia Society's acclaimed exhibit featuring tons of work one of the world’s most cutting edge artists. Through January 2.
On Becoming an Artist: Isamu Noguchi and his Contemporaries, 1922–1960 – The Noguchi Museum highlights the relationship between famed Japanese landscape artist Isamu Noguchi to other artists during his time period. Through April 24.