Variations for Koto

Peter, why did you start playing the Koto after being a professional oboist for so many years?

The sound of the Koto was one that I always have found to be fascinating and special.  When we began our Harry Partch project and were deciding who would play which instrument, I immediately descended upon the Koto.

Dear Makiko, can you say a few words about the traditional role of the instrument in Japan?

The traditional koto music originates from the gakusō used in Japanese court music Gagaku. The ancestor of the koto was the Chinese zheng.
It was introduced to Japan from China in the 8th century as the Gagaku ensemble musical instrument.

How did this change in the context of contemporary music?

Nowadays in Japan the koto instrument is used for traditional to Jazz, Hardrock etc.

The traditional techniques are unique and important characters in the contemporary  music works too, at the same time the koto instruments meet a lot of new world/musical-possibilities, and musical life outside of Japan.

Peter, Please, tell us a bit about the program of your concert?

The program includes one of the few pieces that exist in the repertoire for oboe and Koto by Jimmy Lopez. This very original piece achieves a special atmosphere and blend of the 2 instruments in quite a lyrical way. There are two Premières in the concert. The first one is by the New Zealand composer Dylan Lardelli, who I first met at the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt. He is also a guitar player and tours regularly with a Koto player. He heard about my project and my interest  in particular for the bass Koto and was immediately on board. His former teacher Dieter Mack, who I have closely collaborated with for more than 30 years, was also fascinated by the combination of oboe, bass Koto and violin and also imnediately agreed to write a piece.
Makiko will be performing an exquisite piece by Malika Kishino which utilizes 13- and 17- string Kotos with one player and I will be performing Toshio Hosokawa’s Nocturne for solo Bass Koto which he wrote for Makiko’s former teacher. Toshio and I (and Dieter) all studied in Freiburg at similar times and I have performed and premiered many of his works as an oboist and have conducted a numberof his pieces.   
Toru Takemitsu’s “Distance“ is a dramatic oboe piece that can be performed with or without sho. In the concerts in Germany it will be for solo oboe and on our New Zealand tour will be with sho.