Koto virtuoso Masayo Ishigure to perform March 27 at SUNY Oswego

OSWEGO — A master of the traditional Japanese horizontal harp or zither, the koto, Masayo Ishigure will bring to SUNY Oswego the talent that led to her playing on a Grammy Award-winning soundtrack by famed composer John Williams.

Masayo Ishigure, who plays on the soundtrack from the film “Memories of a Geisha” and has performed around the world, will offer a recital at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, in Sheldon Hall ballroom as part of the Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series.

Ishigure, a veteran of performances in Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art and many more, will offer a recital at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, in Sheldon Hall ballroom as part of the Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series.

Her host, Mihoko Tsutsumi, SUNY Oswego music faculty member and director of choral activities, will deliver a pre-concert talk at 7. Tsutsumi met Ishigure in 2012 in Florida, and helped arrange a concert for her at a Methodist church where Tsutsumi was music director.

“She is a real professional player,” said Tsutsumi, noting that at the past performance she saw, Ishigure “explained about the instrument and asked some (in the) audience to play it. She also played duets with another koto player and a violin player. The concert was very well received.”

Tsutsumi said Ishigure asked her to suggest a flute player or violinist to play a duet at the Ke-Nekt recital, “so I introduced (music colleague) Trevor Jorgensen’s wife, Kris (a flutist). My Women’s Choir will be performing with her as well.”

“There are not so many choral pieces accompanied by koto,” Tsutsumi said. “The piece called ‘Aki Kinuto’ by Minao Shibata was the only piece I found. It is a suite consisting of seven love songs. We (will) do two pieces from them. The lyrics were written in 12th century.”

Among the pieces in her repertoire, Ishigure also plans to play “Haru no umi (Spring Sea)” by Michio Miyagi. “It is one of the most well known pieces” for koto in Japan, Tsutsumi said. “We hear this piece during the celebration of new year from Jan. 1 to 3 on TV, in restaurants, department stores and everywhere.”

Ishigure began playing the koto and jiuta shamisen at age 5 in Gifu, Japan, and has created an extensive, multifaceted career. She has appeared in concerts for the World Music Institute, Japan Society, Music from Japan and the China Institute, and has participated in music festivals worldwide. Ishigure has been invited to perform at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and the Smithsonian Institute, among others.

She has been featured in multiple television broadcasts, some of which included music for CBS Masterworks used during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. She has also recorded koto music for use in several television commercials.

Tickets for “Koto Virtuosos: Masayo Ishigure” are $15 ($5 for students from kindergarten through college) and are available at SUNY Oswego box offices, online at tickets.oswego.edu or by calling 315-312-3073. Patrons needing assistance to attend should call 315-312-3073 in advance of the performance.

Parking is included in the price of a ticket and is available in the employee and commuter lots adjacent to and across Washington Boulevard from Sheldon Hall.

For more information on fine and performing arts events at SUNY Oswego, visit owsego.edu/arts. For a list of all events happening on campus, visit oswego.edu/calendar.

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