Hidejiro Honjoh

The meeting of musical worlds is the theme of the latest instalment in the concert series ›Checkpoint‹, for which Ensemble Modern once again opens its rooftop hall in Frankfurt’s Ostend on October 10, 2018 at 8 pm. For the last two concerts in this series, the Ensemble entered into a dialogue with artists at home in the electronic club music scene; this time it focuses on Japanese music culture, at the initiative of Megumi Kasakawa, EM’s violist. The featured guest at Schwedlerstraße is Hidejiro Honjoh (b. 1984), one of the leading virtuosos on the Japanese long-necked lute shamisen and a wanderer between the worlds of traditional and contemporary music. Historically, the shamisen is closely associated with the Japanese theatrical arts Kabuki and Bunraku. Hidejiro Honjoh studied with the shamisen master Hidetaro Honjoh, the director of the renowned Honjoh School. He also studied with Kineya Katsuyoshiju at the Toho Gakuen. Various orchestral projects and collaborations with contemporary composers such as Ryuichi Sakamoto and Dai Fujikura spread the shamisen’s renown on international concert stages. In 2017 Hidejiro Honjoh was named an official cultural ambassador of Japan. Collaborating with Ensemble Modern for the first time, Hidejiro Honjoh will perform works commissioned especially for this occasion from the composers Matej Bonin, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Yu Kuwabara and Gabriel Prokofiev during this ›Checkpoint‹ concert. In Hidejiro Honjoh’s hands, the shamisen reveals itself as an instrument which produces versatile sonorities and is eminently trendsetting in contemporary music.