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JapanNYC - Part Too

JapanNYC, a citywide festival, continues March 14 - April 9, 2011 at Carnegie Hall and other New York City cultural institutions.  The Part 1 of the Festival ran December 2010.

Led by Artistic Director Seiji Ozawa, JapanNYC explores the Japan of today, where newfound artistic sensibilities continue to transform and revitalize the cultural landscape. Featuring great classical music artists as well as Noh theater, manga, film, butoh dance, pop art exhibitions, and a variety of music genres, JapanNYC embraces a breathtaking diversity of traditional and contemporary arts.

The spring lineup of more than 40 events includes classical, pop, and traditional Japanese music (including free Neighborhood Concerts), noh theater, taiko drumming, dance, film, exhibitions, workshops, and panel discussions on a wide variety of topics. Featured artists and events in JapanNYC this spring include:


Deerhoof & Friends – contemporary indie rock from Japan with special guests Ichi and If By Yes (featuring Yuka Honda and Petra Haden); Monday, March 14 at 8:00 p.m. at (Le) Poisson Rouge.

Kodo Drummers
March 20; 7:00 p.m., Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center
Exploring the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese taiko drum, Kodo forges new directions in this vibrant art form. Its name is derived from the Japanese word for “heartbeat” -- humanity’s most fundamental source of rhythm.

NHK Symphony Orchestra
March 21; 8:00 p.m., Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall
Japan’s oldest professional orchestra -- with over 80 years of history -- returns to Carnegie Hall for the first time in five years, with its Principal Guest Conductor André Previn leading a program that includes music by Takemitsu, Richard Strauss sung by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and Prokofiev.

Bach Collegium Japan with Masaaki Suzuki
March 22; 8:00 p.m., Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall
Japan’s premier period instrument ensemble and chamber choir, led by its Founder and Artistic Director Masaaki Suzuki, performs one of Bach’s great choral works, the Mass in B Minor. Pre-concert talk starts at 7:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage with Benjamin Sosland of The Juilliard School.

Violinist Midori in recital with pianist Charles Abramovic
March 23; 7:30 p.m., Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall
Acclaimed violinist Midori presents the first of her two JapanNYCprograms, a recital of contemporary music with pianist Charles Abramovic, including works by Huw Watkins, Brett Dean, Toshio Hosokawa, James MacMillan and John Adams.

Shamisen Players Yutaka Oyama and Masahiro Nitta
March 25; 10:00 p.m., Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall
Performing on the shamisen, a banjo-like instrument from the Tsugaru region in northern Japan, this duo brings a modern sensibility to an ancient, highly percussive folk music.

Glories of the Japanese Traditional Musical Heritage: Japanese Sacred Court Music and Ancient Soundscapes Reborn
March 29; 6:00 p.m., Miller Theatre, Columbia University
Protected by the Imperial Japanese Court for more than 1,000 years, gagaku is the world’s oldest living orchestral music. The program includes traditional pieces, as well as works by contemporary composers at the forefront of a revival of this traditional art form. 

Pianist Aimi Kobayashi in Recital
April 3; 7:30 p.m., Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall
Fifteen-year-old piano prodigy Aimi Kobayashi has been performing since the age of three and won Japan’s PTNA Piano Competition for four straight years beginning in 2001. She has since become a YouTube sensation, garnering over one million viewers. She performs during JapanNYC as part of Carnegie Hall’s Distinctive Debuts series.

Chamber Music Featuring Violinist Midori and Friends
April 5; 8:00 p.m., Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall
Midori returns, performing works by Haydn, Schubert and Dvořák with violist Nobuko Imai, cellist Antoine Lederlin, and pianist Jonathan Biss.

Jazz Pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi
April 6; 9:30 p.m., Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall
The great jazz pianist/composer Toshiko Akiyoshi performs solos, trios, and quartets with her husband, tenor saxophonist and flutist Lew Tabackin, bassist Paul Gill, and drummer Mark Taylor.

Free Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts
Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute will present four free Neighborhood Concerts throughout New York City as part of JapanNYC. The series will include free performances in neighborhood venues by:

Shamisen players Yutaka Oyama & Masahiro Nitta—March 26 at 3:00 p.m. Abrons Art Center at Henry Street Settlement House in Manhattan

Taiko drumming group Soh Daiko—March 27 at 2:00 p.m. Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts in Brooklyn

Line C3 Percussion Group in a program of works by Tokyo-based composers and New York composers influenced by Japan—April 2 at 8:00 p.m. LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Queens


Kashu-juku Noh Theater
March 24–26; 7:30 p.m., Japan Society
Audiences can encounter Japanese theater developed and preserved since the 14th century—a chance to experience the 600-year-old tradition of noh and kyogen performed back-to-back. Kyoto-based Kashu-juku Noh Theater, led by Katayama Shingo of the prestigious Katayama noh family, is joined by kyogen actors from the Shigeyama family.


Isamu Noguchi and Martha Graham: A Legendary Collaboration

March 17, 8:00 p.m., and 20, 2:00 p.m.; Rose Theater at Frederick P. Rose Hall
The Martha Graham Dance Company performs a program that includes the beloved "Appalachian Spring," a 20th-century retelling of Medea in "Cave of the Heart," and an erotic Adam-and-Eve tale of contemporary marriage in "Embattled Garden"—all featuring set designs by famed Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi.

Eiko and Koma: Naked, A Living Installation

March 29–April 9 (various times); Baryshniknov Arts Center
This two-week-long movement/visual art installation features Eiko & Koma’s exploration of nakedness, desire, and the elasticity of time, set in an immersive and charged organic environment of their handcrafted design. In "Naked," Eiko & Koma will be on continual view, in closer proximity to the audience than ever before. Audiences may come and go as they wish—or stay all evening. In adjacent spaces, view a companion video installation highlighting Eiko & Koma's decades of media work.


Five Japanese Divas
April 1–21; various times; Film Forum
Spotlighting five legendary actresses from the golden age of Japanese cinema—Setsuko Hara, Machiko Kyo, Hideko Takamine, Ayako Wakao, and Isuzu Yamada—this celebration features over 35 films, including some previously unknown in the US. Presented by Film Forum.

A Window on Japan: A Film Series
April 2–3; various times; The Paley Center for Media
The Paley Center for Media will present three programs of arts and culture films about Japan from its collection, including a special family screening event, and such documentaries as Béjart’s Kabuki Ballet (1986), Camera Three: Bunraku: The Classical Puppets of Japan (1973), Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in Japan (1962) and Ode to Joy: 10,000 Voices Resound (2002).


Manga Drawing Workshop with Misako Rocks
March 22 and 29, and April 5; 4:00 p.m.; New York Public Library, Grand Central Branch. 135 E. 46th St.
Kids ages 12–18 are invited to learn how to draw characters, plot stories, and more with manga creator Misako Rocks. Materials will be provided.

Noh Workshop: Movement and Musical Instruments

March 26; 1:00 p.m.; Japan Society
Members of the public can immerse themselves in the centuries-old practice of noh training in this intensive workshop. Company members of Kashu-juku Noh Theater lead exercises in traditional noh movement and give participants an opportunity to play the traditional noh instruments kotsuzumi (small hand-drum) and fue (flute). This workshop offers a rare hands-on experience of this 600-year-old art form.

Beautiful Words, Beautiful Writing
April 5; 4:00 p.m.; New York Public Library, Bloomingdale Branch, 150 West 100th Street
Kids ages 12–18 are invited to transform their words into art with the help of master calligrapher Elinor Holland. Materials will be provided.

j-CATION 2011: Beyond Cute (new)
April 9; 11:00 a.m.; Japan Society
An All-Day Adventure Above And Beyond Japan's Kawaii Culture.
Japan Society's second annual j-CATION open house festival shatters preconceptions about Japan's kawaii (cute) culture and blasts New Yorkers into a new era of Japanese ideas and imagination. j-CATION 2011 promises some of the most recent, radical and wondrous trends in Japan today: extreme fashion, interactive art, boundary-crossing cinema, spectacular live music, sophisticated design, bodacious body art, crazy crafts and even a high stakes Japanese-style game show. Rocketing off from Japan Society’s spring exhibition Bye Bye Kitty!!!, j-CATION 2011 gives a glimpse of Japan Society's galaxy of offerings in film, performance, installation, workshops, talks, language lessons, family-friendly fare, food, fun and more.


Macy’s Flower ShowTowers of Flowers; visitors have the opportunity to explore and learn about the Japanese garden, which is unveiled with a special performance by the Thunder Drummers of the New York Suwa Taiko Association; begins Sunday, March 27 at 11:00 a.m. at Macy’s Herald Square.

Brush: Recent Calligraphy by Masako Inkyo; Japan Society’s calligraphy instructor presents a show of recent work; begins Friday, April 1 at Japan Society.

Toshiba Corporation, a Supporting Sponsor of JapanNYC, features festival artists and information on its giant Toshiba Vision screen atop One Times Square from March 14 to April 9.

On Becoming an Artist: Isamu Noguchi and His Contemporaries, 1922–1960
November 17, 2010–April 24, 2011; The Noguchi Museum
Marking the 25th anniversary of The Noguchi Museum, this exhibition documents and illustrates Noguchi’s artistic relationships with a diverse group of creative individuals, including John Cage, Frida Kahlo, Martha Graham, Louis Kahn, and many others. Related “Second Sundays” programs at the museum will take place on April 10 at 3:00 p.m. (INtersections, an artist-led tour of the museum with Cary Leibowitz).

Graceful Perseverance
February 2–May 1; Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Botanic Garden presents an exhibition of bonsai selected from its C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum, one of the finest and largest collections in the world. The plants on view represent trees that have adapted to extremely rugged mountainous conditions, their uncommon, poetic forms taking shape over hundreds of years of survival in inhospitable environments. Special interpretation will guide visitors through the practice of bonsai training, which has been among Japan’s most revered art forms for thousands of years.

Bye-Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art
March 18–June 12, 2011; Japan Society
Curated by David Elliott, former director of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, this groundbreaking exhibition features 16 artists who reject the outworn narratives of cuteness and infantilism fashionable in Western presentations of Japanese contemporary art. Melding traditional themes with radical perceptions of the present, they create uncompromising—sometimes unsettling—works that challenge the social and political conditions of their times.

Asian Contemporary Art Week

March 21–31; various locations
Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) connects leading New York galleries and museums in a citywide event of public programs, exhibitions, receptions, lectures, artist conversations, performances, and more. In 2011, the week includes a number of exhibitions and lectures of Japanese art.

Panel Discussions

  • Innovating and Profiting in Contemporary Japan led by Norman Pearlstine of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Businessweek
  • The Future of Personal Technology with Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO, and President of Sony Corporation
  • Automobiles, Design and Sake
  • From Race Cars to Rice Wine: Inside Japanese Style – Wall Street Journal columnists and special guests explore automotive and industrial design in Japan and the art of sake, with a sake-tasting to follow; Thursday, March 31 at 7:30 Weill Recital Hall.
  • Talking Tech with The Wall Street Journal Walt Mossberg, personal technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal, discusses consumer technology with Sir Howard Stringer; Friday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall.

For more information, go to

The festival extends throughout New York City, thanks to partnerships with 26 prestigious New York cultural institutions, including

  • Absolutely Live Entertainment and New Audiences
  • Asian Contemporary Art Week
  • Asia Society
  • Baryshnikov Arts Center
  • Bloomberg
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Danspace Project
  • Film Forum
  • Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies at Columbia University
  • Japan Society
  • The Juilliard School
  • Macy’s
  • The New York Public Library
  • The Noguchi Museum
  • The Paley Center for Media
  • Paul Szilard Productions
  • Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Wordless Music
  • Works & Process at the Guggenheim
  • World Music Institute

Free Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts at partner venues

  • Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
  • Abrons Art Center at Henry Street Settlement
  • LaGuardia Performing Arts Center
  • Lehman Stages at Lehman College in the Bronx

will ensure that JapanNYC is accessible to all.

March 14 - April 9, 2011

Carnegie Hall
881 Seventh Avenue at 57th St

New York City

Japan Society
333 East 47th Street

New York City
(212) 832-1155

Plus other venues around Manhattan and Brooklyn

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