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By Culturekiosque Staff

NEW YORK, 27 JANUARY 2010 — Described by Olivier Messiaen as "a hero unlike any other", Iannis Xenakis (1922 – 2001) produced works of extraordinary originality, spun from his questing imagination to form complex structures of rhythmic patterns, polyphonic melodies and remarkable instrumental and vocal textures. Of Greek heritage and Romanian birth, the naturalized French composer's  works span every media and approach — from electronic to acoustic, and from orchestral to electroacoustic to multimedia. His search for new expressive means, which drew on his training as an architect and his work as assistant to Le Corbusier, led to pieces such as Nuits in which voices explore the phonetic sounds of Sumerian and ancient Persian.  

Late next month at Judson Church in Manhattan, the Electronic Music Foundation will present Xenakis and Japan, an evening of dance and music highlighting Iannis Xenakis’s lifelong interest in Japanese music and theater, particularly the art of Noh

Conceived and directed by Italian choreographer Luca Veggetti — who recently premiered Xenakis’ opera Oresteia (where Xenakis reimagines Aeschylus’s epic tragedy through the lens of Japanese Noh theater) at New York's Miller Theater – the evening will feature dance premieres set to Xenakis’ Hibiki Hana Ma (originally composed for the 1970 Osaka World’s Fair), Orient-Occident (created for a 1960 UNESCO-commissioned film by Enrico Fulchigniono on the art of different cultures), and Theraps (a 1976 solo for double bass). The evening will also include Xenakis’ Concret PH, composed in 1958 for the Philips Pavilion at the Brussels World’s Fair, and Yuji Takahashi’s Shigure for solo shakuhachi. Performers will include members from Purchase Dance Corps, dancer Frances Chiaverini, bassist Robert Black, shakuhachi virtuoso James Nyoraku Schlefer, and a unique appearance by female Noh performer Ryoko Aoki, who will arrive from Tokyo specifically for this evening. Xenakis and Japan is one of a series of several events organized around The Drawing Center’s exhibition, Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary, 15 January  - 8 April 2010.

Xenakis considered the theatrical form of Noh to be a supreme artistic achievement as well as emblematic of his own vision in regard to musical drama. Ryoko Aoki — a unique female Noh performer in the traditionally all-male world of Noh — will share the space with dancers and world-class musicians.  Their performance, unfolding as a ritual, will bring forth Xenakis’ unique musical vision, and strive to find a formal balance between the powerful universe of the sound and the extreme precision and control of the dancers. Each piece in the program explores a particular nature of the relationship between dance and music proper to the theatrical arts of Japan, that is to say, between sound, silence, movement and stillness, with space as the common ground.

Xenakis and Japan
Concept, choreography, stage design and costumes by Luca Veggetti
Lighting by Roderick Murray


Iannis Xenakis:
Concret PH
Orient-Occident (
For 4-channel tape)
Dancers from Purchase Dance Corps

Theraps (For Double Bass)
Frances Chiaverini (dance)
Robert Black (double bass)

Hibiki Hana Ma (for 12- channel tape)
Ryoko Aoki (Noh performer)
Dancers from Purchase Dance Corps

Yuji Takahashi: Shigure
James Nyoraku Schlefer (shakuhachi)

Sunday, 28 February 2010 at  8 p.m.
Judson Church
 55 Washington Square South
New York, NY
Tickets:  $15 / $10 seniors and students

For reservations and advance sales, email  or call (888) 749-9998

For more information on this event:
For information on The Drawing Center exhibition:
For the full schedule of Iannis Xenakis performances in New York City:

Headline photo above: Ko omote
signed: Muneyoshi (gold)
Edo period, 17th century 

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