Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra to perform Akira Ifukube’s “Ritmica Ostinata” in March 2008
VERY early news of the live concert performance in Kalamazoo, Michigan
Author: Ed Godziszewski
Official Site: Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
Special Thanks to Kazuo Sumiya
Mark your calendars now. It may be a year away, but Akira Ifukube fans will have the rare chance of listening to one of the maestro’s premier classical pieces, “Ritmica Ostinata”, performed live by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra on March 28, 2008 and featuring the keyboard skills of Reiko Yamada. Presented as part of a musical tribute to Japan, Ifukube’s piece will highlight a program which will also feature pieces by Toru Takemitsu and Paul Hindemith.
Reiko Yamada is currently the principal keyboard artist for the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, having visited Japan most recently in 2006 for performing the “Ritmica Ostinata”, a very demanding piece for any keyboard artist, at a memorial concert for Ifukube. After hearing this piece in the 1980’s, Yamada studied under Ifukube at the Tokyo College of Musicology where Ifukube was the head of the Ethnomusicology Dept. Her fascination with “Ritmica Ostinata” led her to discuss this piece at length with the maestro many times over the years. The website akiraifukube.org has published a fine interview with Ms. Yamada in which she discusses her experiences with maestro Ifukube.
Written for piano and orchestra in 1961, this concerto prominently features piano in a rather unique manner, the piano serving as more of a percussion instrument. Ifukube’s signature repetitive phrases (referred to as ostinato) dominate the piece, creating a fiercely ritualistic tone evocative of Japan’s aborigines, the Ainu people, whose culture strongly influenced Ifukube’s musical sensibilities. For those who may not be familiar with Ifukube’s classical music, this piece is a wonderful introduction to the maestro’s classical compositions, and it contains enough power and energy to satisfy those who only know of his film music.
Tickets for the upcoming concert season of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra go on sale in August 2007. The concert will take place on the grounds of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, about a 3-hour drive from the Chicago and Detroit areas. Time to start making those travel plans!