February 23, 2004
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.- Three master string musicians from Japan will perform some of the world's oldest classical music on Wednesday, March 10 at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall at Amherst College. Kyokko Suga, Motoshige Kai and Yoko Hiraoka will perform on the ancient Japanese instruments called the biwa, kokyu, koto and shamisen. Admission is free and first-come, first-seated.

Kyokko Suga is one of the revered masters of the ancient biwa, a four or five-stringed lute, brought from China to Japan at the end of the 7th century. Biwa music draws on the legends and myths of ancient Japan and accompanies the singing voice. The sung poems, centered on Buddhist themes of transience and stoicism, are often excerpts from stories written through the ages.

The concert will also include a variety of duet pieces covering many of the musical genres of Japanese classical music. Without traveling to Japan, listeners will enjoy a rare opportunity to hear accomplished musicians playing unusual instruments in a single concert.

More information is available at www.csd.net/~yhiraoka/kyokkosuga.html, a Website devoted to biwa music and these musicians.