Hartford Symphony Orchestra opens 2017-2018 Masterworks season with Beethoven’s Eroica October 6-8


Featuring guests Kojiro Umezaki and Masayo Ishigure

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra kicks off its 2017-2018 Masterworks season with a captivating program featuring one of Beethoven’s most celebrated works!  The HSO will present Beethoven’s Eroica Friday, October 6 through Sunday, October 8, in the Belding Theater at The Bushnell in Hartford. These concerts will be led by HSO Music Director, Carolyn Kuan, with guest musicians Kojiro Umezaki on shakuhachi and Masayo Ishigure on koto. Visit hartfordsymphony.org for tickets and information.

The program includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55, “Eroica,” Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont, and Kanno’s Revive, Concerto for Koto and Shakuhachi.

Please join us for a pre-concert talk led by Carolyn Kuan one hour prior to curtain Friday and Sunday. A naturalization ceremony, where 11 Connecticut residents will take the oath to become U.S. citizens, will take place prior to the concert on Saturday, October 6 at 6:30 pm. Information on this ceremony will be released soon.

Beethoven’s “Eroica” is a journey of emotional extremes.  This heroic and mighty symphony was originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, but when Napoleon declared himself an emperor, the composer was so enraged he changed the dedication. Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont was written as a set of incidental music pieces for the 1787 play of the same name by Goethe, who declared that Beethoven had expressed his intentions with “a remarkable genius.” And Yugo Kanno’s Revive spotlights two Japanese instruments unique to an orchestral concert – the shakuhachi, an end-blown flute, and the koto, a traditional stringed instrument.

The 2017-2018 Masterworks Series is sponsored by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation.

About Kojiro Umezaki

Noted by The New York Times as a “virtuosic, deeply expressive shakuhachi player and composer,” Kojiro Umezaki (?????) performs regularly with the Grammy Award-winning Silk Road Ensemble with whom he appears on multiple recordings including Sing Me HomeA Playlist Without BordersOff the Map, and the 2015 documentary film, The Music of Strangers, directed by Morgan Neville. Other recordings with his work have been released on Brooklyn Rider’s Dominant Curve; Yo-Yo Ma’s Appassionato; Beat in Fractions’ Beat InfractionThe Silk Road: A Musical Caravan (Smithsonian Folkways); and Huun Huur Tu’s Ancestors Call. His solo album of mostly original works, (Cycles), was released in 2014.

Born to a Japanese father and Danish mother, Umezaki grew up in Tokyo and is a performer of the shakuhachi, a composer of electro-acoustic works, and a technologist with interests in integrating global musical practices with electronics. He is Associate Professor of Music at the University of California, Irvine and a core member of the Integrated Composition Improvisation and Technology (ICIT) faculty.

About Masayo Ishigure

Masayo Ishigure began playing the koto and jiuta shamisen at the age of five in Gifu, Japan. After initial studies with Tadao and Kazue Sawai, Masayo became a special research student in 1986 at the Sawai Koto Academy of Music.  The Academy incorporates many influences from classical to jazz and aims to change the perception of the koto from solely a traditional Japanese instrument to an instrument of universal expressiveness.  Ms. Ishigure also received a degree in Japanese Traditional Music from Takasaki Junior Arts College with a concentration on koto and shamisen.

Ms. Ishigure moved to New York City in 1992 and has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall and other venues in the New York City metropolitan area.  She has been a guest artist with the San Diego Symphony, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and Seattle Symphony Orchestra.  Masayo Ishigure has also appeared in concerts for music festivals in Japan, Thailand, Brazil, Holland, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, Jamaica, Hawaii, South Korea, and Alaska.  She also accompanied several performances by New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Mr. Peter Boal.  In 2015, Masayo was featured in performance at the Kennedy Center’s “Melody of Japan.”

Ms. Ishigure has been featured in multiple television broadcasts including music for CBS Master Works used during the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.  She has also recorded koto music for use in television commercials.  In 2005, Masayo was a recording artist alongside Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma on the Grammy Award-Winning soundtrack from the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” by John Williams.  In 2016, Ms. Ishigure was awarded the Consul General’s Commendation by the Consulate General of Japan in New York.

Masayo Ishigure has taught koto and shamisen at Columbia University since 2010 and teaches privately in New York City, New Jersey Long Island and Washington DC.


Calendar Listing
Masterworks Series
Friday – Sunday, October 6-8, 2017
Belding Theater at The Bushnell
Friday & Saturday 8pm?Sunday 3pm
Tickets starting at $35.00; $10.00 for students with ID
860-987-5900 or www.hartfordsymphony.org

Beethoven  Overture to Egmont, Op. 84
Kanno Revive, Concerto for Koto and Shakuhachi
Beethoven Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55, “Eroica”

Carolyn Kuan conductor
Masayo Ishigure koto
Kojiro Umezaki shakuhachi

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The Bushnell
166 Capitol Ave
Hartford, CT 06106

©2018 Hartford Symphony Orchestra
The Bushnell: 166 Capitol Ave. Hartford, CT 06106