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Columbia University Gagaku Ensemble


The Gagaku-Hōgaku Classical Japanese Music Curriculum and Performance Program was launched in September 2006 in the Music Department at Columbia University. Including both an Asian Music Humanities class on the history of gagaku music and an ensemble performance class, the 2006-2007 program established the groundwork for the first permanent gagaku training program outside of Japan. The courses and ensemble class, in which students received private lessons on at least one type of gagaku wind or string instrument, were taught by Professor Naoko Terauchi of Kobe University, envoy of Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs and Visiting Professor at Columbia University for the 2006-2007 academic year. Students also participated in Master Classes with visiting gagaku musicians from Japan, receiving critical training for the program’s aim to form New York’s first gagaku ensemble. In the summer of 2007, the Gagaku Program launched the Mentor/Protégé Summer Initiative, in which four students from the Columbia Gagaku Program were provided grants to participate in a six-week intensive training program in Tokyo.

Through this pioneering program, it is our hope to make it possible for young musicians to experience this Japanese tradition deeply and to master one or more of its instruments. It is also our hope to inspire the commissioning of new compositions by and for these young musicians, thereby greatly influencing the future direction of world music.

It is also our aim to introduce Japan’s musical traditions to greater audiences in the Columbia University and New York communities. In collaboration with Gagaku artists from Japan, the Program sponsors concerts, individual lessons and master classes.

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