Kento Iwasaki playing the koto, a traditional Japanese harp. Iwasaki will put the instrument in both a historical and modern context during a lecture at Mercer County Community College April 12.
WEST WINDSOR – A Mercer County Community College (MCCC) alumnus and graduate of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School will demonstrate how an ancient musical instrument is still relevant in the era of jazz, hip hop and rock in an upcoming lecture at MCCC.
Kento Iwasaki (’09 Liberal Arts/Music), an accomplished composer and musician, will deliver his lecture “The Koto: A Traditional Japanese Instrument in Present Day” as part of MCCC’s Distinguished Lecture Series at noon on Wednesday, April 12, in room 109 of the Communications Building on the West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Part music performance and part lecture, Iwasaki will discuss the historical and modern aspects of the koto, a traditional Japanese musical instrument. He will discuss the history of western impact on Japanese music, particularly when Japan ended its period of isolationism. He will also present insight on his own experiences learning traditional music as a composer growing up in America, and will perform excerpts of traditional compositions, as well as modern improvisations and compositions rooted in his collaborations with opera, jazz, hip hop, and rock.
Iwasaki recently performed for a program at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and in September, brought his traveling opera company to Kelsey Theatre to present “Beloved Prey,” a children’s opera based on classic Japanese Noh theater. He is also music director of Opera-tunity, a children’s opera company.
After earning his associate degree at MCCC, Iwasaki transferred to Temple University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Composition. He went on to earn his master’s degree in Classical Composition from the Manhattan School of Music.
For more information on MCCC’s Distinguished Lecture Series, call (609) 570-3324 or visit www.mccc.edu/events.