Masayo Ishigure / Koto, Jiuta style shamisen


Koto, Bass koto, 20 strings Koto, Jiuta style shamisen player

Masayo Ishigure began playing the koto and jiuta shamisen at the age of five in Gifu, Japan. After initial studies with Tadao and Kazue Sawai she became a special research student in 1986 at the Sawai Koto Academy of Music. The aim of the academy was to shed new light on koto music by incorporating everything from Bach to jazz and thus change the koto from being thought of only as a traditional Japanese instrument into an instrument of universal expressiveness.
Later Masayo Ishigure became a member of one of a small group of virtuoso disciples of the Sawai’s and successfully completed the 33rd Ikusei-kai program sponsored by NHK to foster and train aspiring artists in Japanese music.

In 1988, Ms. Ishigure received a degree in Japanese Traditional Music at Takasaki Junior Arts College with a concentration on koto and shamisen. The same year she was recorded on the CD entitled “The World of Tadao Sawai”.

She played koto and shamisen on the educational video. In 1994 she appeared on the CD entitled “Tori no Yoni”: (Flying Like a Bird) Tadao Sawai compositions.
She released her own solo CD “Grace” in 2001. In 2003 she recorded “East Wind Ensemble” which featured Hayao Miyazaki’s animation songs arranged for koto and shakuhachi music.

Since arriving in New York City in 1992 Ms. Ishigure has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, BAM, Merkin Hall, Asia Society, Japan Society, Metropolitan Museum, Symphony Space and other venues in the NY city metropolitan area. She has performed at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and many other prestigious Universities and Colleges. She made several duo appearances with NY City Ballet Principal Dancer Mr. Peter Boal, and was guest artist with the San Diego Symphony, New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Symphony Orchestras. Ms. Ishigure has appeared in concerts for World Music Institute, Japan Society, Music from Japan, China Institute, and many others.
She has participated in music festivals in Japan, Thailand, Brazil, Holland, France, Germany, and has performed in Mexico, Russia, Belarus, Jamaica, Hawaii, Alaska, and many venues throughout the US.

Ms. Ishigure and her students performed with koto master Kazue Sawai at the Freer Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC and Maryland and the Asia Society in NYC.

She has been featured in public television broadcasts.
In 1997, she recorded koto music for CBS Master Work for use during the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. She has recorded koto music for use in several television commercials.

As an artist in residence from 1992 to 2006, Ms. Ishigure taught koto and shamisen in the music department of Wesleyan University (CT) where she formed the Wesleyan Koto Ensemble. In Recent years she has been teaching at the Columbia University (NY).
She also offers private lessons as the only Sawai Koto Academy Instructor in the New York City, New Jersey and Washington DC area.

She recorded music for the soundtrack of the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” by John Williams in 2005 along with Yitzhak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, and others.

“Grace” and “East Wind Ensemble” are available at CD





また様々な分野に活動の場を広げ、長野オリンピック音楽担当、ジャズ、室内楽 との共演などに新しい邦楽の可能性を見出している。

2005年には巨匠ジョン・ウィリアムス氏の作曲による映画 “Memoirs of a Geisha”のサウンドトラックのレコーディングをイツァーク・パールマン、ヨーヨーマ各氏らと共に行う。その経緯を経て2007年にはNewsweek誌の「世界が尊敬する日本人100人」に選ばれる。

石榑雅代 琴三味線アンサンブル”MIYABI”主催