Episodes:

Iraqi-American jazz artist Amir ElSaffar, second from left, leads the ensemble in his original concert-length suite, Two Rivers, which blends elements of jazz and classical Iraqi and Arab music. The CD recording of the work was named to top-ten lists for jazz recordings in 2007 by the Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer and was ranked runner-up for the top debut jazz release of the year by the Village Voice. Left to right: Jason Adasiewicz, vibraphone; Amir ElSaffar, trumpet; Nasheet Waits, drums; Rudresh Mahanthappa, saxophone; and Carlo DeRosa, bass.

Iraqi Jazz Fusions: Amir ElSaffar’s Two Rivers

Iraqi-American jazz artist Amir ElSaffar leads this cross-cultural quintet in a live concert rendition of Two Rivers, an original multi-movement work inspired by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the current strife in Iraq, and the common ground between American jazz and Iraqi classical music. ElSaffar sets the modes of Arab music to innovative grooves, free ensemble playing, and multilayered sound textures, resulting in a work that the BBC praises as “harrowing to absorb, full of as much beauty as pain.” He performs on trumpet, santur, and vocals, along with Rudresh Mahanthappa, saxophone; Nasheet Waits, drums; Carlo De Rosa, bass; and Jason Adasiewicz, vibraphone. This concert was made possible, in part, with support from the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, and was recorded in concert in the Freer Gallery’s Meyer Auditorium on February 7, 2009.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

The Tori Ensemble with (left to right) Erik Friedlander, cello; Satoshi Takeishi, percussion; Yoon Jeong Heo, geomungo (zither); Kwon Soon Kang, vocal and gong; Young Chi Min, daegum (flute) and janggo (drum); and Ned Rothenberg, clarinet, saxophone, and shakuhachi.

A Korean and American Jazz Excursion: Five Directions

Six boundary-breaking musicians from Korea and the United States join forces for this cross-cultural jazz collaboration evoking the origins of the universe, the cosmic balance of yin and yang, and the five elements of creation. Three leading lights of the New York improv scene–Ned Rothenberg (clarinet, saxophone, and shakuhachi), Erik Friedlander (cello), and Satoshi Takeishi (percussion)–are joined by three Korean musicians–Yoon Jeong Heo (geomungo/zither), Kwon Soon Kang (vocal), and Young Chi Min (daegum/flute and janggo/drum) –for this unique experiment that blends free jazz and traditional Korean music.

This concert took place in the Freer Gallery’s Meyer Auditorium on December 9, 2008.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

In margapati, a female dancer portrays the King of the Forest. Created in the early 1940s by choreographer I Nyoman Kaler, this dance is like others from the era in which female dancers perform character studies of young men. The dancer is Luh Made Didik Dwi Wahyuni, who currently teaches dance at the University of Wyoming.

Balinese Music and Dance: Gamelan Mitra Kusuma

Experience the shimmering brilliance of a Balinese gamelan orchestra and see images of the dramatic dances from the island’s Hindu-Balinese traditions as the Washington, D.C., area’s own Gamelan Mitra Kusuma (Flowering Friendship) performs a program of classical and contemporary repertoire. Three guest artists join gamelan director I Nyoman Suadin, who studied at Bali’s Conservatory of the Performing Arts and currently teaches at the University of Maryland, Swarthmore College, and the Eastman School of Music. This performance took place in the Freer Gallery’s Meyer Auditorium on December 4, 2008.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

James Wilson, cello; Theresa Salomon, violin; Kathryn Woodard, piano; Masayo Ishigure, koto

Between Tides: Chamber Music from Japan

An international quartet of musicians combines Western and Japanese instruments to perform music written during the course of the twentieth-century, from Kosaku Yamada’s “Seven Poems” (1914) to Toru Takemitsu’s “Between Tides” (1993). Masayo Ishigure has performed on koto at Lincoln Center and on John Williams’s soundtrack for the feature film “Memoirs of a Geisha.” James Wilson was a long-time cellist with the Shanghai Quartet. Pianist Kathryn Woodard served as a consultant to Yo-Yo Ma’s “Silk Road Project.” Violinist Theresa Salomon completes this outstanding ensemble.

This concert was presented on October 2, 2008, as part of the Bill and Mary Meyer Concert Series, supported by the New York Community Trust–The Island Fund and numerous additional donors.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Male musician performing in a yellow shirt

North Indian Classical Music, Part 2 of 2

Grammy Award-winner Vishwa Mohan Bhatt expanded the Hawaiian slide guitar to incorporate nineteen strings, which allows him to combine the techniques of Indian classical music from several traditional instruments, such as the sitar, sarod, and vina. He has performed worldwide, including appearances at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the United Nations and for the celebration at Lincoln Center of Mahatma Ganhi’s 125th birthday. Subhen Chatterjee has accompanied such masters as Bhimsen Joshi, V. G. Jog, and Rashid Khan. This concert was presented in celebration of the Freer’s “Arts of the Indian Subcontinent and the Himalayas.” Recorded live in the Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art, March 28, 2008.
Part 1 of 2: Rag Puriya Kalyan (1:08:15)
Part 2 of 2: Rag Desh, Rag Kirwani, and Meeting by the River (50:47)

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Male musician performing in a yellow shirt

North Indian Classical Music, Part 1 of 2

Grammy Award-winner Vishwa Mohan Bhatt expanded the Hawaiian slide guitar to incorporate nineteen strings, which allows him to combine the techniques of Indian classical music from several traditional instruments, such as the sitar, sarod, and vina. He has performed worldwide, including appearances at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the United Nations and for the celebration at Lincoln Center of Mahatma Ganhi’s 125th birthday. Subhen Chatterjee has accompanied such masters as Bhimsen Joshi, V. G. Jog, and Rashid Khan. This concert was presented in celebration of the Freer’s “Arts of the Indian Subcontinent and the Himalayas.” Recorded live in the Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art, March 28, 2008.
Part 1 of 2: Rag Puriya Kalyan (1:08:15)
Part 2 of 2: Rag Desh, Rag Kirwani, and Meeting by the River (50:47)

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Musicians from Marlboro

Six veterans of the venerable Marlboro Music Festival perform Franz Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet, op. 20, no. 4 (1772); Elliott Carter’s Figment IV, for unaccompanied viola (2007, American premiere); Carter’s Quartet for Oboe and Strings (2001); and Robert Schumann’s Quartet for Piano and Strings, op. 47 (1842). The ensemble features Susie Park and Harumi Rhodes, violins; Samuel Rhodes, viola; Priscilla Lee, cello; Rudolph Vrbsky, oboe; and Ieva Jokubaciute, piano. Recorded live in the Freer Gallery’s Meyer Auditorium on March 18, 2008.
Haydn: String Quartet in D Major (0:00-26:50)
Carter: Figment IV (27:14-30:15)
Carter: Oboe Quartet (30:33-47:27)
Schumann: Piano Quartet (47:55-1:16:42)

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Premiere Works: Music From China Ensemble

Chinese instruments by award-winning composers Chen Yi, Zhou Long, and Wang Guowei, plus a pair of winning compositions from the seventeenth-annual Music From China International Composers Competition. New York’s Music From China ensemble performs the classical “Moon Rising High,” newly arranged by Zhou Long; Chen Yi’s “Chinese Fables,” and Shen Yiwen’s “Study in Terra Cotta,” among other new works. The Kansas City Star called the Music From China ensemble “music from heaven” and “exceptionally rewarding.”

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Sufi Music from Iran: Persian National Music Ensemble

The Freer and Sackler Galleries celebrated the 800th anniversary of the birth of the Sufi poet Jalal-a-Din Rumi with a day of concerts, poetry readings, family activities, and gallery tours. The Persian National Music Ensemble, based in Baltimore, told stories of Rumi’s life, reflected on his philosophy, recited selected poems, and performed traditional musical settings of Rumi’s lyrics sung by vocalist Firoozeh Zarrabi, accompanied by santur (hammered zither), tar (lute), and daff and tombak (percussion).

This studio recording presents the same program performed at the Freer Gallery of Art on October 27, 2007.

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Arab Music from Iraq: Rahim Alhaj, oud; Souhail Kaspar, percussion. Part 2 of 2

Iraqi-born musician Rahim Alhaj earned a 2008 Grammy nomination for his CD titled When the Soul Is Settled: Music of Iraq, released on the Smithsonian Folkways label. He studied at the famed Baghdad Conservatory under the late Munir Bashir, who was perhaps the greatest oud (Arab lute) master of the twentieth century. Since arriving in the United States in 2000, Alhaj has released three more CDs, including one of original music for oud and string quartet. Legendary jazz guitarist Bill Frisell calls Alhaj’s music “beautiful, mysterious, and powerful.” This concert on July 31, 2007, was made possible in part through support from the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Arab Music from Iraq: Rahim Alhaj, oud; Souhail Kaspar, percussion. Part 1 of 2

Iraqi-born musician Rahim Alhaj earned a 2008 Grammy nomination for his CD titled When the Soul Is Settled: Music of Iraq, released on the Smithsonian Folkways label. He studied at the famed Baghdad Conservatory under the late Munir Bashir, who was perhaps the greatest oud (Arab lute) master of the twentieth century. Since arriving in the United States in 2000, Alhaj has released three more CDs, including one of original music for oud and string quartet. Legendary jazz guitarist Bill Frisell calls Alhaj’s music “beautiful, mysterious, and powerful.” This concert on July 31, 2007, was made possible in part through support from the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Renaissance Songs of Travel: Vozes Alfonsinas

Return to the era of exploration of Columbus and Magellan, when missionaries, merchants, diplomats, and artists first traveled to Asia. Hear sixteenth-century songs from Spain and Portugal that express the sadness of leaving home, the joy of returning, and the invigoration of experiencing new cultures. The ensemble Vozes Alfonsinas, based in Lisbon, features the Renaissance guitar and vihuela, the bowed rebec, and the long-necked theorbo, along with a variety of recorders, percussion, and vocals.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

The Lisbon-based Gulbenkian Choir performed sacred music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in conjunction with the 2007 Sackler exhibition Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries. The program included works by Portuguese composers Pero de Bamboa (1563?–1638) and Francisco António de Almeida (died ca. 1755), as well as Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti (1685–1757), who spent nine years as royal chapel master to King João V of Portugal. These compositions—with lyrics taken from the Psalms, the New Testament, and medieval monastic poetry—reflect the same religious inspirations that informed Christian artwork created under Portuguese influence in India, China, and Japan.

Music of Empire and Faith: The Gulbenkian Choir

Immerse yourself in sacred choral music from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe, performed by Lisbon’s outstanding Gulbenkian Choir. This performance was held in conjunction with the exhibition Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries, which was on view at the Sackler Gallery in 2007. The program features Baroque church music that parallels the Christian artwork created under Portuguese influence in India, China, and Japan. Included are works by Portuguese composers Pero de Gamboa and Francisco António de Almeida, as well as famed Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti, who spent nine years as royal chapel master to the King of Portugal. This performance was recorded on June 23, 2007, in conjunction with the exhibition Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries. It was made possible, in part, through the generous support of the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Portrait of Hwang Byungki: New and Traditional Music for Korean Instruments

Hwang Byungki is Korea’s acclaimed master of the classical kayagum, an ancient ancestor of the Japanese koto. His six-member ensemble performs traditional music and original works by Hwang on kayagum, taegum (flute), komungo (zither), and changgu (hour-glass drum). Hwang Byungki has toured internationally for more than forty years. In 1990, he led an ensemble to North Korea to perform in a landmark concert advocating the reunification of Korea.
This concert was made possible, in part, by the Korea Society and the Korea Foundation. Recorded live on June 5, 2007, Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art.

Sounds of the Night (0:00-11:30)
Soyop Sanbang (11:53-22:10)
Moon of My Hometown (22:36-27:02)
Kayagum sanjo (27:25-46:02)
Harimsong (46:40-54:20)
Ch’imhyangmu (Dance of Aloe Perfume) (54:43-1:08:50)

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Enjoying the Flowers: Chinese Music & Drama

Enjoy this rarely heard tradition of Chinese music and drama called nanguan. Dating from the early seventeenth-century Ming dynasty, it has been revived by Chinese musicians and actors in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia. It is performed here by vocalists and instrumentalists on Chinese fiddle, lute, gongs, flute, and percussion. The centerpiece of the performance is an excerpt from Enjoying the Flowers, a famous scene in the nanguan repertoire. In this episode, a lady’s maid conjures up imagery of bees, butterflies, birds, and flowers to convince her patron to express her frustrated love through romantic poetry. This performance was presented in cooperation with the Taipei Cultural Center and in conjunction with the Sackler exhibition East of Eden: Gardens in Asian Art. Recorded live in the Haupt Garden at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on April 22, 2007.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Cappella Romana, Part 4 of 4

Cappella Romana, a leading Byzantine music ensemble of virtuoso singers from Greece, England, and the United States, performs “Medieval Byzantine Chant: Advent and Christmas from St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mt. Sinai, Egypt.” The concert features music from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, including works by Manuel Gazes and St. John Koukouzeles. This concert is part of the Meyer Concert Series and was presented in conjunction with the Sackler exhibition In the Beginning: Bibles Before the Year 1000, and incooperation with the J. Paul Getty Museum exhibition Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai. Recorded live in the Meyer Auditorium November 30, 2006.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Cappella Romana, part 1 of 4

Cappella Romana, a leading Byzantine music ensemble of virtuoso singers from Greece, England, and the United States, performs “Medieval Byzantine Chant: Advent and Christmas from St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mt. Sinai, Egypt.” The concert features music from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, including works by Manuel Gazes and St. John Koukouzeles. This concert is part of the Meyer Concert Series and was presented in conjunction with the Sackler exhibition In the Beginning: Bibles Before the Year 1000, and incooperation with the J. Paul Getty Museum exhibition Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai. Recorded live in the Meyer Auditorium November 30, 2006.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Woodley Ensemble, Part 1 of 2

The Woodley Ensemble, the area’s leading chamber choir, gives the Washington premiere of Gustav Holst’s rarely heard Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda. Holst made his own translations from the Sanskrit for this work, which he completed in 1918. Traditional Vedic chants offered by the chief priest at the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple, one of the Washington area’s oldest and largest Hindu temples, precede the concert. Frank Albinder, conductor of the Woodley Ensemble, was long-time associate director of the Grammy Award-winning Chanticleer choir of San Francisco. Presented in conjunction with the centennial of Freer’s 1906 gift to the Smithsonian. Recorded live in the Meyer Auditorium October 14, 2006.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Woodley Ensemble, part 2 of 2

The Woodley Ensemble, the area’s leading chamber choir, gives the Washington premiere of Gustav Holst’s rarely heard Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda. Holst made his own translations from the Sanskrit for this work, which he completed in 1918. Traditional Vedic chants offered by the chief priest at the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple, one of the Washington area’s oldest and largest Hindu temples, precede the concert. Frank Albinder, conductor of the Woodley Ensemble, was long-time associate director of the Grammy Award-winning Chanticleer choir of San Francisco. Presented in conjunction with the centennial of Freer’s 1906 gift to the Smithsonian. Recorded live in the Meyer Auditorium October 14, 2006.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Arab Music From Palestine: The Oriental Music Ensemble

Here is an unprecedented opportunity to hear this quartet of faculty members from the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Jerusalem on their debut American tour. The ensemble performs classical and contemporary Arab music for ‘ud, nay, clarinet, qanun, and percussion. The conservatory, with campuses in Bethlehem and Ramallah, was famously endorsed by both Edward Said and conductor Daniel Barenboim for its teaching of Western and Arab music to Palestinian youth. Presented in cooperation with American Near East Refugee Aid. Recorded live at the Freer Gallery of Art on February 16, 2006. (42:02)

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

 

Sounds from the Sultan’s Court: The Neva Duo

Fresh from his West Coast tour, Murat Aydemir, a young Turkish tanbur (lute) virtuoso, joins veteran ney (flute) master Salih Bilgin for informal performances of Ottoman Turkish music from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Hear the sounds of musical instruments that are often depicted in Ottoman paintings and were central to musical life in the Ottoman court. Recorded live at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery January 14, 2006. (36:34)

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

 

Bell Yung plays a Chinese qin that was made in 1640 during the Ming dynasty. The Freer Gallery collection includes two qin from the same period: one inscribed with the name “Spring Breeze,” and an even older instrument from the Tang or Northern Song dynasties (7th-12th centuries), which was evocatively called "Dragon's Moan." (Photos courtesy of Bell Yung)

Ancient Music for the Chinese Zither

Imagine a Buddhist monk deep in the scenic mountains of China, contemplating the towering pines, babbling brooks, and shape-shifting clouds as he plays a qin. Virtuoso Bell Yung preserves the musical tradition of this ancient Chinese zither, one of the few types of music in the world that is played primarily for the enjoyment of the performer. Bell Yung, emeritus professor of music at the University of Pittsburgh, recorded this concert at the Freer Gallery in 2005.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Tan Dun’s Map Project and China’s Endangered Music

Internationally acclaimed composer/conductor Tan Dun, whose many accomplishments include an Academy Award for his score to the hit film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” leads this discussion/demonstration exploring the vanishing musical cultures of ethnic minorities in western Hunan. His discusses his most recent creation, The Map, which combines a stone-drumming ensemble, cello soloist, the Shanghai Symphony, and video of traditional dance. The talk follows the American premiere of the work at the Kennedy Center on October 17, 2005. A co-presentation with the Kennedy Center’s Performance Plus program. Recorded live at the Freer Gallery October 18, 2005. (46:41).

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Formosa Aboriginal Song and Dance Troupe

Experience the haunting choral melodies and evocative dances of the aboriginal Bunun and Ami tribes of Taiwan’s high central mountains and rugged east coast. The troupe appeared at Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Festival, prompting the New York Times to delare, “The city’s busy skyscape paled before the authority, simplicity, and radiant humanity of the company.” The surprisingly modern choral sounds of the Bunun shocked musicologists who first heard it 60 years ago, and Bunun musicians were featured on the recent CD with ECM recording artist, cellist David Darling. To preserve and share the island’s rich aboriginal culture, the ensemble draws its membership from Taiwan’s twelve native tribes. This concert was presented in cooperation with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office. Recorded live at the Freer Gallery October 9, 2005. (26:30).

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Sufi Music from Rajasthan: Rangeela

Travel to the fabled caravan routes of desert India with this eight-member ensemble. Their infectious rhythms spring from thirty-six generations of musicians who performed for Rajput maharajas and at temple festivals, where Muslim musicians, Hindu devotion, and rich local culture blended with invigorating results. Presented in cooperation with Folk Arts Rajasthan. Recorded live at the Freer Gallery September 18, 2005. (1:09:16)

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

This is one of Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, by Katsushika Hokusai (1760—1849), a series that was so popular in Japan that it eventually ran to forty-six images. Whistler was introduced to the work of Hokusai in the 1850s through a copy of Hokusai's Manga, a collection of informal prints that later gave rise to the current rage in the West for Japanese comic-novels (also called manga) and animation (anime). Manga was also Debussy's introduction to Japanese prints, first shown to him in the 1880s by sculptor Camille Claudel. He later became familiar with Hokusai's Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji and Hiroshige's Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido. The Sazaido Hall of the Temple, Gohyakurakanji, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji; by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849); Japan, Edo period, ca. 1823-1831; woodblock print; ink and color on paper; gift of the family of Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer, F1974.63

Whistler and Music: Ieva Jokubaviciute, piano

This piano performance explores the influence of American expatriate artist James McNeill Whistler on the music of French composer Claude Debussy, as well as their mutual connections to Japan. Whistler borrowed the title of Frédéric Chopin’s piano nocturnes of the 1830s for his nighttime landscapes of the 1870s, which in turn inspired Debussy’s orchestral nocturnes of the 1890s. In addition, both Whistler and Debussy admired Japanese woodblock prints and incorporated them into their work.

This concert, by the young Lithuanian-born pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute, was recorded as part of the Bill and Mary Meyer Concert Series at the Freer Gallery of Art on March 4, 2004.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

The Legacy of Munir Bashir: Omar Bashir, ‘ud

Enjoy the expressive warmth of the Arab ‘ud (lute) with virtuoso Omar Bashir in this concert honoring the memory of his father, Munir Bashir, who elevated the instrument to new prominence in the twentieth century. Omar Bashir coaxes a wealth of emotions from the guitar-like instrument, utilizing a variety of Arab melodic modes (maqam) and interpreting works made famous by his legendary father, including Love and Peace, Seville, and Andalusian Señora. This concert took place in the Freer Gallery of Art on September 14, 2003.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

man playing an instrument

The Legacy of Munir Bashir: Omar Bashir, ’ud

Enjoy the expressive warmth of the Arab ’ud (lute) with virtuoso Omar Bashir in this concert honoring the memory of his father, Munir Bashir, who elevated the instrument to new prominence in the twentieth century. Omar Bashir coaxes a wealth of emotions from the guitar-like instrument, utilizing a variety of Arab melodic modes (maqam) and interpreting works made famous by his legendary father, including Love and Peace, Seville, and Andalusian Señora. This concert took place in the Freer Gallery of Art on September 14, 2003.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

This image of a setar player appears in a painting that was created around 1600 in present-day Uzbekistan. The musician performs for a companion who is drinking a cup of wine. Detail, album folio, A Seated Princess (Right-Hand Half of a Double-Page Composition), painting attributed to Muhammad-Sharif Musawwir, borders signed by Muhammad Murad Samarqandi; ca. 1600; opaque watercolor and gold on paper; origin: possibly Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Purchase--Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler. S1986.304

Master of Persian Music: Hossein Alizadeh, tar and setar

Hear the ancient improvisational tradition of Persian classical music played masterfully by one of Iran’s greatest musical legends. Hossein Alizadeh is a two-time Grammy nominee, once for his solo album Endless Vision and again as a member of the Masters of Persian Music ensemble, with which he has toured internationally.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

Activities of the Twelve Months This concert features music for the koto, a thirteen-string Japanese zither played with fingerpicks, and the shamisen, a long-necked lute plucked with a large plectrum. In this detail from a late nineteenth-century woodblock, two women play the koto and shamisen. Detail, Activities of the Twelve Months in Edo: December. By Toyohara Chikanobu (1838-1912). Japan, Meiji era, 1889. Woodblock print; ink and color on paper. Gift of Moses Albert Walker in memory of Marion Walker, S1995.116.66a-c

Contemporary Music for Japanese Instruments: Sawai Koto Ensemble

Hear the exhilarating music of the late Japanese composer Tadao Sawai and his son Hikaru Sawai, performed by this twenty-piece ensemble of traditional Japanese instruments. Kazue Sawai and her ensemble have collaborated with such composers as John Zorn, John Cage, and Sofia Gubaidulina, and appeared at Lincoln Center and the Bang on a Can Festival in New York. This performance took place in the Freer Gallerys Meyer Auditorium on May 4, 2001, and was co-sponsored by the Embassy of Japan. Recorded in concert at the Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art, on March 4, 2001.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/

A leading performer on the Chinese pipa, Wu Man has appeared at major venues around the world, in solo recitals, and with leading ensembles, such as the Kronos Quartet and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. She was named 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year by Musical America, making her the first traditional musician ever to receive the award.

Master of the Chinese Pipa: Wu Man

A Grammy Award nominee and the first traditional artist to be named Instrumentalist of the Year by Musical America, Wu Man is widely considered the premiere soloist on the pipa, an ancient Chinese lute. Enjoy her virtuosic renditions of classical pieces meant to evoke Chinese sunsets, Buddhist chanting, and an ancient battle. This 1999 concert at the Freer Gallery concludes with a contemporary work written for her by composer Bung-Ching Lam.

The changing of the seasons is represented in the last piece on the recording, Minoru Miki’s Hanayagi (The Greening). According to the composer, his music “sings in praise of the brilliant life-power of the seasons as they slowly shift from spring to early summer.” The Japanese screen above, from the Edo period (1615–1868), is meant to be read from right to left, as the flowers transition from spring to summer blossoms, a technique frequently employed in Japanese screen paintings to depict multiple seasons in a single narrative image. Flowers and a Brook. Japan, Edo period (1615–1868). Six-panel screen; color over gold on paper. Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1897.27-28

Reiko Kimura: Traditional and Contemporary Music for Japanese Koto

Three centuries of music for Japanese koto are performed by virtuoso Reiko Kimura in this concert, recorded at the Freer Gallery on January 15, 1998. Compositions range from the exquisitely delicate to the rambunctiously adventuresome, and feature both the traditional thirteen-string koto and the contemporary twenty-string koto. This concert was presented in cooperation with Music From Japan, Inc. (New York) as part of the Music From Japan Festival 1998. Four years earlier, Kimura joined the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as guest koto player for the premiere of Minoru Miki’s Symphony of Two Worlds at Lincoln Center.

See images, program notes and related artwork at https://www.freersackler.si.edu/series/music/