West Windsor, N.J. – Composer and musician Kento Iwasaki ’09 (Liberal Arts/Music) creates music that spans genres, cultures and centuries.
Just recently, he performed dreamy, improvised Japanese koto music for a program about Mars at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. On Sept. 24, he will bring “Beloved Prey,” a children’s opera based on classic Japanese Noh theater, to Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre. The one-hour, six-musician opera blends traditional Japanese instrumentation, stylized dance movements, and colorful costumes and masks in a mesmerizing story about an unusual friendship between a lioness and the antelope she takes under her wing.
Iwasaki is delighted to be returning to MCCC with The Traveling Opera Company. “I hope to introduce young theater goers to a variety of influences and give them a memorable theater experience,” he said.
A graduate of West Windor-Plainsboro High School North, Iwasaki says he enrolled at MCCC in 2007 for all the typical reasons – it was convenient and affordable. And, he was facing the same challenges that many community college students do. He worked full- and part-time jobs and was juggling family responsibilities while attending college.
What he has done since, however, is anything but typical.
After earning his associate degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Music, Iwasaki transferred to Temple University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Composition. He then completed his master’s in Classical Composition from the Manhattan School of Music.
These days Iwasaki is putting all that talent together as a freelance composer, music instructor and opera company director.
Iwasaki’s “portable opera” concept is drawing lots of attention and praise. It was recently featured on JapanCulture•NYC, New York City’s No. 1 blog for Japanese culture. He performed songs from “Beloved Prey” at the Ikebana International’s AKI NO KOKORO: Autumn Portraits in Ikebana & Koto at NYC’s Kitano Hotel last October.