The U.S./Japan Cultural Trade Network (CTN) has commissioned Tokyo-based composer Tomoko Momiyama to create a new work to premiere as part of this year's San Francisco International Arts Festival on Thursday May 23, 7PM, followed by two more presentations on Saturday May 25, 3:30PM and Sunday May 26, 3:30PM.
We have successfully secured funding from public and private foundations in both Japan and the U.S., but we are still a little short of balancing the budget. Your support will make a big difference in this final stage of creation so that we can fully realize the artist’s vision.
Tomoko Momiyama’s new work is inspired by conversations with members of the Bay Area's diverse communities, including artists and specialists in seed science, migratory birds, and sea navigation. By weaving together multiple perspectives on the experiences of their respective journeys, the work explores the issues of home and diaspora identities in the Bay Area and beyond. Tomoko is deep in her creative process and asking such questions as “how do all beings, including us humans, orient and navigate ourselves on this earth and with each other?”
The audience members will be invited to actively participate in the performances and become an integral part of the sound and stories composed and designed by Tomoko and her collaborators, including Koto virtuoso Shoko Hikage, visual artist Aisuke Kondo, agroecologist Kana Koa Weaver, and theater artist Yuriko Doi.
Tomoko mediates communication between people and the environment through her music. Her works invite the audience to listen to what is not readily audible in their surroundings and re-imagine their collective memory of living on this earth.
For example, “I Saw Time, under a Cherry Tree” is an electro-acoustic piece Tomoko created as a response to the ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, since 2011. The core of the piece is composed of sounds from the inside of trees. Another example, “When Humans Go Extinct” that premiered in 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa, is her multi-media composition for piano, electronics, and image projections. The work employs sounds from within the earth. It is based on underground explorations at anthropological excavation sites of early human fossils as well as in-depth dialogues with communities affected by current mining developments.
Tomoko has arrived in San Francisco to finish developing the new piece, designed specifically for the site at Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture. We strongly believe her innovative work will be a great contribution to the cultural scene and discourse in the Bay Area, and appreciate your support wholeheartedly.
For more details on the performances, please see Tomoko's webpage @ San Francisco International Arts Festival.
About Composer Tomoko Momiyama
Tokyo-based Tomoko Momiyama works internationally as a music composer, dramaturg, and producer of interdisciplinary art events, installations, and performances. She graduated from Stanford University in the U.S. with B.A. in Music and Human Biology and further studied composition at the Royal Conservatory of the Netherlands in The Hague under the Japanese Government Overseas Study Programme for Artists. Tomoko’s works, many of which are community-based and site-specific, have been performed throughout Japan, as well as in different parts of Asia, Europe, North and Central Americas, and Africa.
“How many classically trained saxophone players have worked collaboratively with sumo wrestlers? … I’d venture to say none. Except for Tomoko Momiyama.” - Carl Stone
Performers & Collaborators
Shoko began playing koto at the age of three. Her first teacher was Chizuga Kimura of the Ikuta-ryu Sokyoku Seigen Kai in Akita Prefecture, Japan. From 1985, she received special training from the 2nd and 3rd IEMOTO Seiga Adachi. In 1988, Shoko graduated from Takasaki College with a major in koto music. She was then accepted as a special research student (uchideshi) at the Sawai Sokyoku In (Sawai Koto Institute) under Tadao and Kazue Sawai, where she received her master's certificate (kyoshi). She also completed a one-year intensive seminar at the Sawai Sokyoku In. In 1992, she moved to Honolulu, Hawaii to teach koto at the Sawai Kotot Kai Hawaii (Sawai Koto Institute Hawaii branch) and at the University of Hawaii. In 1997, she moved to San Francisco where she continues her concert and teaching activities. Shoko was a featured soloist for Neil Mackay’s “Voice of Phoenix for koto and orchestra.” Shoko premiered Hyo-shin Na's “Crazy Horse" for Korean Traditional Orchestra and Koto Solo with the National Orchestra of Traditional Instruments in Seoul, Korea in November 2011. In the Bay Area, she also premiered Hyo-shin Na’s “Night Procession of the Hundred Demons,” “Koto Music” and “Koto Ninano.” In 2014, Shoko gave a solo recital with a program devoted to Hyo-shin Na's music for koto/bass koto at Buam Arts Hall in Seoul, Korea. The second CD of her playing of Na’s music was released on the Top Arts Label in February 2015. Shoko's Website
Kana Koa Weaver
Kana Koa Weaver is a seed saver/scholar-activist based in Berkeley, California. She travels across Japan, Hawai’i and the U.S. to inherit traditional wisdom on seeds and farming. She provides lectures and workshops on seed stewardship, writes and translates about seeds, farming and food movements, and provides tours. Her latest translation work: Political Dynamics of Transnational Agrarian Movements was published in Japan in 2018 (*Translated from English to Japanese). Kana received an M.A. in Agrarian and Environmental Studies from International Institute of Social Studies The Hague, Erasmus University in the Netherlands. She is a mother of a 3-year old. Kana's website
Born and raised in Japan and currently based in Germany, Aisuke Kondo explores questions of belonging, identity, memory, and history across a variety of media, from collage and gallery installation to video and performance. In 2008, he completed a Meisterschüler in Fine Art at Berlin University of Arts. After his university graduation, he received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council to research on his great-grandfather who was incarcerated at Topaz concentration camp in Utah during World War Ⅱ. Currently, he is working in the Bay area on a grant from the Cultural Affairs Agency in Japan in order to conduct fieldwork as a visiting scholar in Asian American Studies at SF State. In his current “Matter and Memory” series (2017-present), Kondo retraces his great-grandfather’s life as an immigrant in the US from his arrival in the early 1900s. Kondo has had solo exhibitions at Gallery Turnaround in Sendai, Japan (2018), Kommunale Galerie Steglitz-Zehlendorf in Berlin (2018), MINTMOUE in Los Angeles (2017) and Kyoto Art Center in Kyoto, Japan (2016). His works are on view, along with an extensive interview with the artist, at aisukekondo.com
Japanese-born and trained in the classical theater styles of Noh and Kyogen, Doi brought this heritage to the West in the 1960s, founding Theatre of Yugen in 1978. That troupe has proven to be the major beneficiary of Doi’s directorial resume’ of more than 30 productions. Her foundation in these arts began when she was a graduate student of Waseda University in Tokyo, where she studied with Kyogen master and National Living Treasure of Japan, Mansaku Nomura. She has also been influenced by the Noh practice of her aunt, Yuki Doi, and her studies with Noh principal actor Shiro Nomura. The array of productions Doi has directed range from classics and adaptations to original works. She has taken for her inspiration theater throughout time, from around the world, directing plays that run in style and subject matter from Japanese and Greek mythology to 20th-century American, using movements from sources as diverse as flamenco and Native American dance. She is also an experienced sailor and has traveled throughout the world by yacht with her husband. She wrote a book about the adventure in Japanese, which is currently being translated into English.
Producers: Kyoko Yoshida & Miwa Kaneko for U.S. / Japan Cultural Trade Network (CTN)
This project is supported, in part, with funds provided by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Saison Foundation and The Japan Foundation.
Risks and challenges
This new work is partially funded by both public and private foundations in the U.S. and Japan, but the expenses have increased from the original budget by approximately $3,000 mostly due to the difficulty in obtaining O-1 work visa. Also the anticipated income source to balance the budget includes ticket sales (estimated at a total of $1,500. for 3 performances), which is always unpredictable for a premiere by an international artist. As a small culturally specific nonprofit organization, this is quite a financial risk.
We plan to overcome the gap through this crowd-funding, and also by reaching out to several individuals who are actively working in the intersection of arts and the environmental concerns for audience development.
Thank you for your consideration to help us produce this truly meaningful international project!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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