21st-Century Matsuri

Last Saturday’s Future Music Oregon concert saw the premiere of my piece “21st-Century Matsuri” for 8-channel fixed media. I was in charge of putting together the programs for that concert, however, and unfortunately I somehow managed to do everything perfectly except for the title of my piece (a problem that I seem to often have when using old documents as a template).

Anyway, this piece is another about Japanese Festivals (like “hayashi”), but a little bit more more introspective. See the program notes:

Some of my favorite experiences when I visit Japan are the local festivals. These matsuri are wonderful displays of community through music and dance that do not really have analogs in modern US culture. Despite my love of these festivals, though, I often have a great sense of alienation when I attend, because, at a matsuri, I begin to feel my own “foreignness” more acutely than at any other time, as I am often alone in groups of hundreds from the local community.

Thinking about this tension, I composed this piece, 21-st Century Matsuri, as a kind of electronic concerto, playing with this interaction of the individual and society.

21st-Century Matsuri

[audio:http://www.simonhutchinson.com/21stCenturyMatsuri.mp3]

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Art, to be fully appreciated, must be true to contemporaneous life. It is not that we should ignore the claims of posterity, but that we should seek to enjoy the present more. It is not that we should disregard the creations of the past, but that we should try to assimilate them into our consciousness.

-Okakura Kakuzo