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March 2018 Newsletter


Weblog of Kaoru Watanabe, NY based Flute/Fue player

March 2018 Newsletter

Fumi Tanakadate

Kaoru at Sydney Opera House.jpg

January and February of 2018 were incredibly productive, inspiring and challenging on so many levels. My mind and body are reeling from all the new experiences.

In January, I debuted a string quintet of all my music at the Tenri Cultural Institute in NYC and debuted a new trio (Satoshi Takeishi and Mazz Swift) in a concert with the great tap-dancer Kumagai Kazunori at Asia Society (the videohere) In February, I traveled first to Australia for some intense rehearsal and composition time, then to Berlin for the Berlin Film Festival where Wes Anderson invited me to dinner with some A-list celebrities (Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton, Greta Gerwig, etc etc) because I did some music for his new film Isle of Dogs, and I performed with a great old friend and fellow ex-Kodo member Hori Tsubasa on the red carpet (Wes and Bill Murray joined for a jam session). Then, I flew BACK to Australia for my debut as a soloist and composerwith the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, sharing the stage with TaikozRiley Leeand conductor Gerard Salonga (the brother of Broadway and Disney star Lea Salonga) at the Sydney Opera House. We performed two of my compositions, Dreams and Shinobu, that I had arranged for orchestra. This was a huge milestone in my career and a week later, I'm still trying to process what had happened. 

Dreams at Tenri.jpg
Satoshi Takeishi and Mazz Swift.jpg
© Rachel Cooper

© Rachel Cooper

In the beginning of March, I have a bit of downtime where I'll be deep in preparation for a series of upcoming shows, the next one being at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall playing both trio with Shane Shanahan and Mike Blockas well as a quintet adding trombonist Steve Wilson and composer/pianist Bruce Adolphe for Bruce's piece Four Harmonious Friends. This will be part of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's children's concerts. Later on in the month, I have a duo show in Hartford, CT with Fumi Tanakadate, working with the great singer Imani Uzuri on her contemporary chamber opera called Hush Arbor, which is "inspired by hidden gathering places called “hush arbors” created by enslaved African Americans in wooded areas in the South to secretly worship, commune and strategize rebellion". 

In April, I am revisiting the aforementioned string quintet at NYC's Joe's Puband am thrilled to be performing at BRIC's Look+Listen Festival with the great singer Alicia Hall Moran and Fumi Tanakadate. We'll be sharing the bill with Susie Ibarra and Claire Chase. I will close out April with a trip to Boston to work with the Silkroad Ensemble at the Harvard's Arts First Festival. More exciting things are happening in May and June but I'll hold off for now until we get closer.

Hope to see you all soon!