UH Composition Students Shine in Japan

In Composition, Student Accolades by General Entries

The UH Mānoa composition program continues to make its mark on the world. Four UH composition students, William Watson, Chris Molina, Andrew Filson and James Finamore were featured on the May 11 Chiba concert of Dolce Hogaku Ensemble (ドルチェ邦楽合奏団), a Tokyo-based Japanese instrument group, led by world-renowned shakuhachi performer, Seizan Sakata.

The event was structured as a competition, with an international call for scores issued, and audience invited to vote for their favorite piece. UH’s strength was on clear display, with four of the six selected works by UH composers, and a fifth by former UH student Colleen Schmuckal. UH undergraduate James Finamore’s  高千穂峡谷 (Takachiho Gorge) for shakuhachi and two koto was selected the outstanding piece. As the winning composer, James will be commissioned to write a new work for large ensemble of approximately 50 performers, to be premiered by Dolce Hogaku Ensemble in Tokyo next year.

The May 11 event is just one of many successes for the UH composition program, a world-leader in the burgeoning field of intercultural composition. The composition program hosts top performers of traditional Asian instruments nearly every semester, offering its students direct access to leading musicians from around the world. UH composition students have been selected to participate in numerous concerts, festivals and workshops in Korea, Japan and China, and regularly have their works performed in the U.S. and abroad.

Musicians from the Dolce Hogaku Ensemble in performance