Gagaku: spiritual music of the Japanese Middle Ages

Wednesday 18 April 2018,
Room 4
Tickets £12
Members/Concessions £8

Phone +44 (0)20 7323 8181
Ticket Desk in Great Court

The festival is organised by the British Museum and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and made possible by the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.

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The Japanese ensemble Reigakusha plays gagaku – the world’s oldest orchestral music still being performed today.

This form of Japanese classical music was first performed at the imperial court in Kyoto in the 7th century and follows precise ceremonial rules. Performed in the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery (Room 4) for a dynamic and unique musical experience.

Reigakusha was established in 1985 under the direction of Sukeyasu Shiba with the purpose of performing and studying gagaku. Its repertory includes not only standard classical pieces but contemporary ones commissioned specially for the ensemble, and it also reconstructs ancient repertory. It has recorded many discs of classical, contemporary and reconstructed gagaku pieces, and performed at renowned concert halls over the world. In 2002, Reigakusha was awarded the Kenzo Nakajima Music Prize, and the Excellent Award in the Disc Section of the Agency for Cultural Affairs National Arts Festival. In 2016, it was awarded the 16th Keizo Saji Prize. In addition, Reigakusha has organised lecture concerts presented in a fun and informative way so that the audience can be familiar with gagaku, and a number of workshops and concerts for school students in various cities in Japan.

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