My Summer of Shamisen

It seems that my lofty goals of having a composing summer have (once again) gone unmet.

Instead, this summer, I got back to focusing on shamisen, studying with my teacher to learn (among other things) a new piece, Senboku Nikata Bushi. Now, at the end of the summer, I think I’ve finally got a grip on this piece (or at least I know what I need to practice from here on out).

Two months of practicing two hours a day = one two-minute piece… that sounds about right.

Along with all the practicing I managed to get out for a few volunteer performances in Iwate Prefecture (Japan). The last of which was at a temporary housing complex for people who displaced by the tsunami in March.

shamisen

09/13/11: Playing Shamisen at Temporary Housing in Ozuchi-cho

Although I haven’t put a single note to paper since August, I definitely don’t feel my time was wasted, but, with school starting again in a week, it’s time to get back to being a composer, and now, with a head full of ideas (and a head full of that song, Senboku Nikata Bushi), I’m ready to get back to work.

Stay tuned for such pieces as: “Cowboys and Samurais: Blues for Guitar and Shamisen” (with art by Christopher Hoover), “Sea Garden” a song cycle written for Katherine Price on texts by H.D., and the “School Song” from my ongoing opera project ONODA with libretto by Katherine Hollander.

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