“Work-in-Progress in Malaysia” is an attempt at international collaboration of music through the experiences of composer, musician and improviser Makoto Nomura. The project aims to create new music using traditional Asian instruments. A group of musicians from Japan has been chosen based on his 2010 project “Nomura x Hokusai”, which created new compositions inspired by the world renowned Ukiyo-e painter Katsushika Hokusai. This paved the way for his mission to foster collaboration between contemporary composers and traditional instrumentalists.
2015 marks the second stage of this collaboration. During his initial trip here in 2013, Nomura visited Universiti Teknologi MARA, ASWARA, SEGi College and Findars. This culminated in two days of experimental performances with award-winning composer Ng Chor Guan, dancer Aida Redza, vocalist Kok Siew Wai and saxophonist Yong Yandsen at Toccata Studio.
On January 18-22 this year, Nomura will lead a troupe comprising the Hokusai Manga Quartet as well as Thailand’s Anant Narkkong and Indonesia’s Yohanes Subowo on a research tour of Kuching. In addition to rehearsals, the entourage will conduct discussions with traditional music practitioners.
Nomura will then share his insights from the trip at a public talk and demonstration at Black Box in Publika on January 25. He will be joined in Kuala Lumpur by Kamrulbahri Hussin of Geng Wak Long fame and Chor Guan.
|Research + Creation
Date: 18-22 January, 2015
Venue: Kuching, Sarawak
|Research Sharing Session: Talk + Demonstration
Date: 25 January, 2015
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Admission: Free and open to the public
Venue: Black Box, MAP @ Publika, Jalan Dutamas 1, Hartamas Heights, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
To attend the session, please register at the official Eventbrite page.
Participating project members
Makoto NOMURA (Composer, Improviser, Piano, Melodica)
Nomura is keen to expand the boundaries of music composition in many different projects such as “Music with Animals”, “Keyboard Choreography Collection”, “Remix of Elderly People’s Home”, etc.
He has composed numerous pieces in many styles including works for solo piano, chamber and symphony orchestras, rock and improvising bands, Javanese gamelan, melodicas, traditional Japanese instruments and daily found objects. In many of his works, he has combined trained and non-trained musicians. As an improviser, he plays the piano and the melodica.
Anant Narkkong (Ethnomusicologist, Composer, Writer)
Anant is Professor of Ethnomusicology and Composition at Silpakorn University’s Faculty of Music. He is best known for Korphai, a traditional Thai percussion ensemble he founded in 1983 and that has featured in films, plays and festivals worldwide. Korphai’s contribution to film score of “Overture” named them as co-recipient of the Best Music award at the Star Entertainment Awards 2004 and Bangkok Critics Assembly Awards. Anant also presents a Thai music programme on national TV and radio and regularly write columns on the topic for newspapers and magazines.
Yohanes Subowo (Composer)
Born into an artistic family, Subowo, or Pak Bowo as he is more affectionately known, is the youngest of nine children who all became successful artistes. A lecturer at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts Yogyakarta, he has taught music and dance for over 30 years. His expertise has brought him to many countries overseas to perform and present workshops. Back home, he is well-regarded as an authority on gamelan and has contributed scores for film and the stage.
Kamrulbahri Hussin (Percussion, Rebab, Serunai)
Hussin is a highly sought-after contributor for both theatre productions and feature films. When not promoting traditional Malay music as a member of gamelan group Rhythm in Bronze and family instrumental act Geng Wak Long, he lectures at Universiti Teknologi MARA, where he was named a “Distinguished Creative Scholar”.
Ng Chor Guan (Composer, Theremin)
Chor Guan is a music composer and sound designer whose work covers theatre, dance, film, orchestral music and new media. His projects integrate experimental approaches to both classical and electronic composition and have been presented at numerous festivals internationally.
In 2008, he was nominated as Most Promising Artist at the BOH Cameronian Arts Awards. His music for films have been awarded grand prizes at the Clermont-Ferrond Short Film Festival in France and the Artfilm Fest in the Slovak Republic. In 2012, his work was nominated for Best Musical Composition at the 1st Selangor Youth Awards and in 2011 he received a scholarship from the Goethe-Institut.
Etsuko TAKEZAWA (Koto, Shamisen, Voice)
Etsuko Takezawa is a highly esteemed master of the koto (Japanese zither). Born in Ishikawa Prefecture, she studied under koto masters Tadao Sawai, Kazue Sawai and Takeshi Nakai. After graduating from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, she formed several koto groups and has been performing at the National Theatre of Japan. Takezawa is known as a versatile koto performer of classical as well as contemporary works, cementing her reputation with numerous composers. She has also attracted attention for her successful collaborations with musicians of other genres such as jazz pianist Fumio Itabashi, vocalist Sizzle Ohtaka and saxophonist Tetsuro Kawashima. She completed a two-city US tour in January 2009 where she performed at the Asia Society in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and with the Kronos Quartet at Carnegie Hall. Takezawa currently teaches part-time at Fukushima University and the Kinjo Gakuin University.
Yusuke KATAOKA (Percussion)
Born in 1969 in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, Kataoka self-taught and performed piano and xylophone since childhood. He extended his passion to his tertiary education, enrolling at Tokyo College of Music where he studied percussion under Makoto Aruga and marimba under Mariko Okada. After working as a studio musician in the commercial sector, Kataoka was employed at the Gifu Prefectural Music Therapy and Research Centre as a researcher from 1997 to 2000, where he carried out a number of improvisational sessions at hospitals and institutions for the handicapped and elderly. In 2006, he appeared on NHK programme Ainote as a regular performer.
Having held part-time stints as a lecturer at Kyoto Women’s University and Kyoto University of Art and Design in 2012 and 2013, Kataoka rediscovered the potential of the desk xylophone and formed a duo known as Kanetataki with Jun Suzuki, which performs popular American 1920’s and ’30s rug time music. He has also released an album and audio book.
Hiroshi OBIKI (Igil, Khoomei, Jew’s harp)
Obiki considers himself a human synthesiser who creates sounds transcending world music by weaving overtones solely by body and not electricity. He is in love with khoomei, a type of throat-singing that originated from Tuvan in southern Siberia, as well as Jew’s harp, a palm-sized instrument that creates vigorous overtones. Obiki travels across Japan and overseas to promote overtone with Vions, a music group he formed in the past that he now continues as a solo project.
Obiki appeared in NHK’s Ainote, a children’s music TV programme, as a regular performer. After the show went off the air, he continued on as a member of the Ainote-san band.
Hiromu MOTONAGA (Shakuhachi)
Motonaga was born in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1974, but spent 9 years abroad during his childhood. Despite learning violin since he was four years old, his interest in his homeland’s culture gravitated him towards learning Kinko-ryu shakuhachi under Ohashi Reisei and Sugawara Kuniyoshi. He started performing professionally upon graduation from Sophia University’s Faculty of Foreign Studies and completion of NHK’s Japanese traditional music training programme. Motonaga has performed in 25 cities across 15 countries, and made numerous recordings and appearances on TV and radio. He is also a member of Pro Musica Nipponia, composed of Japan’s most highly-rated traditional musicians.
Yukihiro NOMURA (Videography)
A graduate of the History of Western Art programme at University of Tohoku and the University of Siena, Nomura won the Kirin Art Award in 2002 for the video production “Music in Place”. The Kyoto native is active in many fields; namely video, art criticism, fine art, photography, graphic design and installations. Nomura is currently a professor at the Department of Education of Gifu, where he organises an annual art forum.
Kumiko YABU (Sound and Recording)
Born in Osaka and now living in Kyoto, Yabu studied sound engineering at Obirin University. In 2008, she studied collaborative composition for gamelan at the University of York with a grant from the Agency of Cultural Affairs of Japan. She has also studied gamelan for a year at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts Yogyakarta courtesy of a scholarship programme by the Indonesian government.
To date, her works have included music for dance and film, most notably “Hospitalité”, which won the Japanese Eyes award for Best Film at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the NETPAC Award at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival. As a percussionist/improviser, she has played in various international festivals in Ireland, England, Austria and Indonesia.