Rare Performance of Classical Japanese Music
Brings Centuries of Tradition to Mount Holyoke Campus

Ten centuries of musical tradition will be showcased during the gagaku performance on March 29. The concert of Japanese classical music will be performed by musicians from the Japanese imperial household in one of only two U.S. stops.

Once only heard in Japan at the imperial court and in shrines and temples, gagaku--a genre of Japanese classical music that originated in fifth-century Korea--will be performed at MHC on March 29. Sponsored by the Inclusiveness Program and Amherst's Sunbow 5 Foundation, the concert is one of only two U.S. appearances by the musical troupe. The musicians are part of the music department at the Japanese Imperial Household Agency.

Gagaku, which has been kept in its purest form by the Japanese imperial family since the tenth century, is the highest form of Japanese classical music. The group of fourteen musicians and two dancers appearing in America will play wind and percussion instruments and perform five pieces. Among the unusual instruments used by the group will be the sho, a free-reed mouth instrument made of seventeen bamboo pieces inlaid into a small jar; the fue, a flutelike instrument that has three variations similar to the soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone wind instruments familiar to Westerners; and percussion instruments similar to gongs.