B I O G R A P H Y Masayo Ishigure

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 one of a small group of virtuoso disciples of the Sawais 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 in koto and shamisen. The same year she was recorded on the CD entitled The World of Tadao Sawai.

In 1994 she appeared on the CD entitled Tori no Yoni: Tadao Sawai Compositions. Since that time she has performed all over the world, and appeared in such festivals as Bang on a Can (NYC).
Ms. Ishigure has been featured in two public television broadcasts, Music Under New York and World of Music. In 1997, she recorded Koto music for CBS Master Work for use during the broadcast of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. In December 1997 she performed a classical program of traditional koto music at Carnegie Hall, and in January 1998 she performed at Merkin Hall as part of the Music from Japan series.

In 1992 Ms. Ishigure began teaching koto and shamisen in the music department of Wesleyan University (CT) as an artist in residence where she formed the Wesleyan Koto Ensemble. She also offers private lessons as the only Sawai Koto Academy instructor in the New York metropolitan area.

Website: http://masayo-koto.home.att.net/bio.html
email: masayo-koto@worldnet.att.net

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