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Japanese music lecture recital to be held at FMU, Oct. 26

    FLORENCE, S.C. – A lecture recital of Japanese music by Mary Louise Nagata with Starr Ward will be held Thursday, Oct. 26, at Francis Marion University.

    The program will begin at 8 p.m. in the Hyman Fine Arts Center’s Kassab Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public. The recital is titled “The Koto and Japanese Traditional Music: Changing Tradition?”

    The koto is the traditional Japanese zither. This instrument is also played in China, Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, and Thailand and has been a popular instrument in East Asia at least since the first emperor of China in 200 BCE. Ceramic figures and paintings from ancient China, Japan and Korea also attest to the age of this instrument. The koto dates back at least to the 7th century in Japan because it appears in 7th century ceramic figures in graves.

    Nagata has been an assistant professor of history at FMU since August 2005. Her specialization is Asian history, particularly Japanese history, and she will perform this concert lecture in conjunction with her course on modern Japan, 1600-present.

    Nagata first went to Japan in 1975, where she studied violin and music pedagogy of the Suzuki method at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan, with Shin’ichi Suzuki, earning her teaching certificate in 1977. In 1983, she began the study of the koto in Kyoto, Japan, with Ineko Oka, a performing artist and student of the famous 20th century performer and composer Michio Miyagi. Since then, Nagata has continued to play the koto and has performed in concerts and as a guest artist in various recitals and other venues in Japan, Switzerland and the U.S.  In Florence, she played at the International Festival with the Suzuki Strings and as a soloist at the Fine Arts Gala in 2005.

    Nagata also performs in the Tokiwazu school of Kabuki narration related to the kabuki theater. She uses her background in both the Western and Japanese musical performance traditions as a basis for comparison. During the concert, she will give short talks about the Japanese music tradition and how it has changed from 1600 to the present, including the development of and opposition to notation systems for Japanese instrumental music.

    Ward, a violinist, is concertmaster of the Florence Symphony Orchestra and performs with the Masterworks Choir and Firenze Quartet. She maintains a studio of 20 violin students and is co-founder of Florence-Darlington Strings and founder of Suzuki Strings of Florence. For 18 years she served on the faculty of the N.C. Suzuki Institute, and she joins Terry Roberts in the third year of the Florence Symphony String Camp at FMU. Ward holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree (cum laude) and a Master of Music Education degree from UNC-Greensboro. She is married to Dr. Benjamin Ward and has two children and two grandsons.

#45 / 10-4-06
Last Published: January 3, 2007 2:40 PM
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