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Cultural Workshop: Exploring the World of Koto with Masumi Timson

Photo courtesy of Masumi Timson

Masumi Timson will present a lecture on traditional Japanese Koto music, followed by a hands-on session. Students would have a session to play ‘Sakura (Cherry Blossom)’, which is one of the most famous and popular Koto compositions. Masumi also enjoys collaborating with various musical instruments such as Japanese bamboo flute, Shamisen (three-stringed instrument), Violin, and Piano, etc. This time, she will join Courtney Drehle, an accordion player, to show how this traditional Japanese harp can collaborate with Western music instruments.

The history of koto – Japanese traditional and ancient musical instrument – dates back over 1,400 years and has seen many changes during this time. Koto Master Masumi Timson’s presentation will include a PowerPoint lecture on the historical background of koto, how koto music has changed over the centuries, and how traditional Japanese culture has influenced koto music. It also discusses where this instrument stands in today’s society, and the influence of Western music. This will conclude with a hands-on activity in which participants will experience practicing koto and playing one of the most famous koto songs, Sakura (Cherry Blossom).

The performance will feature a musical chronology of the esoteric nature of traditional and contemporary Japanese koto music, accompanied by accordion played by Courtney Drehle. This lecture/hands-on session provides a rewarding and educational experience for students and the general public.