In March 2016 UH Mānoa hosted a weeklong residency featuring the exceptional musicianship of the renowned Tokyo-based Japanese instrument ensemble Pro Musica Nipponia. Each year the UH Mānoa Composition Area arranges for a residency of visiting performers of East Asian instruments, a project that has been one of the cornerstones of Music Department culture at UH Mānoa for the past decade.
Residencies are a chance for students to hear first-rate performers of these instruments—which is a relatively rare opportunity in the U.S.—and see up close the possibilities, limitations, and nature of these instruments in the hands of top players. UH Mānoa Composition faculty member Dr. Donald Reid Womack says “It’s one thing to talk in the abstract about how something might work on an instrument, but as soon as you hear it come to life it becomes an entirely different experience.” In addition to two concerts and various outreach activities, Pro Musica Nipponia read works by graduate student composers John Paul Brabant, Chris Molina, Ulung Tanoto, and William Watson, and also performed a work by Thomas Goedecke during their O‘ahu stay.
Next year UH Mānoa looks forward to continuing this new tradition of hosting some of the most important East Asian players of their respective countries. Plans for the upcoming year include a significantly extended residency to facilitate more meaningful collaboration with UH Mānoa student composers, as well as hosting a conference on new music for Korean instruments, featuring guest performers and composers from around the world.