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Photo At the beginning of the year 2004
Notwithstanding my prayer, in spite of our anxiety, the world seems to lose human way, and wondered deep into the bush. I feel similar situation with 60~70 years ago. We, all artists should consider seriously about useful situation to stop wars of no utility, and try to devote talents how to keep frequent cooperation between different races and cultures.
I started composing "Aien", an opera in three acts at Aug.16. The opera will conclude my eight opera series along Japan's 1500 years long history. "Aien" need close cooperation by China and Japan according its story based on my original aim. My first action on composing was the secret pipa piece "Aien" which has very important role in the opera. Then the first draft of the libretto by famous nun writer, Jakucho Setouchi arrived at the end of August. I gave her several notes about the style of the opera and she kindly revised the libretto and sent me back as the second draft. It is marvelous story concerning Japanese envoys to China in the Tang dynasty in 8th century. By the end of the year 2003, I composed vocal score of the "Aien" until #3 (covered app.23 minutes). I still need some changes on the libretto, but generally the work is going smooth. The opera scheduled its premiere by the Japan National Opera Theatre in 2006.
Between 23rd and 31st Jan. Yang Jing(pipa) and three members of the ORA-J, Seizan Sakata(shakuhachi), Reiko Kimura(koto) and I(composer) have to execute tight schedule in Hawaii. There is a special concert for 150 years cerebration between Japan-US. Also at UC, Hawaii we will have lectures on each instrument and my opera "The Tale of Genji". The tour will be supported by the Japan Foundation.
The ORA-J's 13th regular concert titled "Japan-China Exchange Concert on New 21-string Koto & Zheng" is scheduled at Tsuda Hall, Tokyo on 9th March. The Tokyo Metropolitan International Exchange Society will support this event. ORA-J invites two top-ranked Zheng soloists from China, and performs mainly my works for 21-string koto solo like "Tennyo", "Ballades for koto solo vol.2" and typical ensemble piece "Cassiopeia 21". This concert means 21-string koto's 35 years cerebration and also the memorial event for the publication of Miki's seven pieces for 21-string koto by the People's Music Publisher, Beijing. 180 pages book includes scores of "Ballades for Koto solo II, III, IV "(15 pieces), "From the East", "Dragon Wind", "Cassiopeia 21", "Koto Concerto No.4 = Pine Concerto" and the publisher adds CD of each piece.
After this concert, for same purpose two Japanese koto soloists, Reiko Kimura and Akemi Yamada are going to China with me in late March and having three concerts with Chinese zheng soloists in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The Asia Ensemble which founded by me in 2002, and consisted by several most excellent soloists who play typical Asian solo instruments will have next tour in Japan as one part of "Asia-Silk road Music Festival" since 16th Oct. to 9th Nov. of this year. Specially on 9th Nov. the Ensemble will make its real Tokyo debut at Tsuda Hall. An excellent Chinese composer Mo Fan is composing new piece for this tour according my request.
"Yang Jing & Yui Ensemble" is succeeding its activity performing my "East Arc" for pipa, violin, cello, marimba/percussion and my other pieces like "Heian Music-scope". In this year they will perform these pieces on 26th May in Uwajima-city.
I and Japan arts are producing Yang Jing's concerts touring Japan.
Most of projects which indicated in "At the beginning of the year 2003" has been achieved very well in 2003. Only Uta-za had a problem on management by former Managing Director, and after the 258th stage of my folk opera "The Monkey Poet" in October, I am on the way to change theatre's organization as the Founder & the General Director.
My first opera "Shunkin-Sho" will have new production at Izumi Hall, Osaka on 5th June conducted by Kazufumi Yamashita, directed by Tatsuji Iwatani. The title role Shunkin will be sung by Ms. Yuko Kamahora first time and Sasuke will be sung by Mr. Mitsumasa Sato who had many successful performances on this role.
CD "Minoru Miki Selected Works VII" will be published by Camerata Tokyo on 25 Jan. Record title is "Pipa Concerto" and includes the Concerto and "Heian Music-Scope", "East Ark". The quality of performance and recording, cover design etc. is quite beautiful. Yang Jing shows perfect technique and musicality. Please see Discography on this URL. Cover photo can see clearer on Japanese top page.
NORSK MUSIKFORLAG A/S publishes new version of piano reduction for Marimba Concerto soon.
ZENON Music Publisher published "Minoru Miki Piano Works" in last September. They are planning to issue "Minoru Miki Opera Arias I, II" during this and next years.

Minoru Miki