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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI music professor crosses classical cultures

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 24, 2002 -- Move over Beethoven. Here come Yoshihiro Kanno and Amy Beach, contemporary Japanese and American classical composers.

Aren’t familiar with their music? If pianist Manabu Takasawa of Saunderstown, assistant professor of music at the University of Rhode Island, has his way, audiences from Rhode Island and Japan will be hearing these and other contemporary works. In fact, Takasawa will perform some of those compositions on Saturday, September 28 at 8 p.m. at the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. His performance is part of URI’s University Artist Series. Admission is $8 for general admission, $2 for students.

Takasawa will make his Tokyo debut next summer. Prior to his trip, he will study, collect and perform music by composers from each culture.

American classical music has yet to be regarded as serious art in the U.S. Yet there are numerous, worthy musical works that have gone unrecognized and little performed, overshadowed by the favored European masters of classical music, according to Takasawa
The URI professor plans to dig for these American piano treasures at the Library of Congress and the International Piano Archives of Maryland.

He will also travel to Japan to gather information on important Japanese composers and their works by visiting the National Diet Library, the Min-On Music Resource Center and the Yamaha Music Center in Tokyo. Since the history of Western classical music is relatively new in that country, Takasawa will focus his study on music by living composers.

This will not be Takasawa’s first visit to Japan. In fact, he was born there but left in 1981 and received his musical training in the U.S.

Although classical music originated in Europe, Japanese and American composers have embraced its tradition differently and created music with varying influences, according to Takasawa.

Much of Takasawa’s professional activities have been centered on this topic since his piano solo at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1992.

"As an artist-scholar with a bilingual and bicultural background, I hope to exchange ideas and artistic endeavors between the two cultures," he said.

Takasawa received $4,300 from the URI Council for Research’s Faculty Development Program and $1,000 from the URI Foundation Faculty Assistance Fund to pursue his research.

Media contact: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

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