Sounding the Space: Music for Architecture

Percussionist/improviser Marcos Fernandes performed a series of new works titled "Sounding the Space: Music for Architecture", site-specific, multi-media performances in buildings designed by his grandfather, in four cities throughout Japan in June of 2009, and at a fifth site in October of 2010.

Designed by Uheiji Nagano at the turn of the twentieth century, the five sites are the Museum of Kyoto, Renaiss Hall (Okayama), Karakoro Kobo (Matsue) - all originally the Bank of Japan - the Okurayama Memorial Hall (Yokohama), and, for 2010, the Yamagin Archive in Shimonoseki, originally the head branch of Mitsui Bank. Each of these buildings has since been designated a historical site and has been converted into public use or NGO facilities.

An intensely multi-layered work, "Music for Architecture" includes research into the architecture and history of the buildings and their past and present relationship to the community, using that research to activate the architecture and essence of the building through the use of live soundscapes (field recordings and improvisation with acoustic and electronic sound sources), while incorporating movement and visual installations.

Marcos Fernandes engages the community in each city through artistic collaborations - the work is researched, rehearsed, and performed with local historians, architects, musicians, dancers, and visual artists.

The entire 2009 project (process, architecture, history, community, rehearsals, and performances) was documented on video by Hans Fjellestad, an accomplished documentary filmmaker, for future release.

Cultural Re-Connection:

For Marcos Fernandes, this piece also holds a personal significance of re-connection with his native country and culture through his grandfather's historical architecture.

Born in Niigata, Japan, Uheiji Nagano (1867-1937), studied architecture at the University of Tokyo and abroad in Europe and the US. Nagano was the first president of the Japanese Architecture Society, was a designer on the Presidential Palace in Taipei, Taiwan, and eventually became the Chief Designer for the Bank of Japan, designing approximately 30 buildings for the bank. One of the most important aspects of Nagano's career was that he was one of the forerunners of the integration of western philosophy into Japanese architecture.

Marcos Fernandes was born in Yokohama, Japan of Portuguese/Irish/Japanese heritage. At the age of 18, Fernandes moved to California. Having grown up in the east and lived as an adult in the west, at the age of 53 he returned to Japan and is rediscovering the importance of Japanese culture in his own work, reconnecting with his heritage through his grandfather's existing architectural legacy which similarly mixes both eastern and western philosophies.


Koichi Akada

Born in 1970 in Akaiwa, Okayama prefecture, he currently lives in Okayama City. Self-taught, he began playing the sax at age 14. From 1993, he participated in pianist/arranger Masahiko workshops and appeared on two related cds. After working in a musical instrument shop, he began performing in public in 2003. Presently, he performs 30-40 times a year with his own group and with various other ensembles and collaborators. In 2003, he performed in Moscow with the taiko group Be Zen Kokuu. In 2006, he collaborated with percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani in New York. In 2007 he began recording five minute duets with 100 improvisers which he plans to release as a cd. Based on his motto of "amiable and charming improvisation," he continues to perform and participate in numerous art related events and projects.

Marcos Fernandes

A native of Yokohama, Japan, Marcos Fernandes spent over three decades in California as performer, producer and curator. He has performed in the US, Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong and Japan as a solo improviser, phonographer and as percussionist/sound artist with various ensembles, dancers and visual artists. Fernandes' work can be heard on over 50 recordings on Accretions, Bake/Staalplaat, Circumvention, Pax, Pfmentum,, Public Eyesore, Solitary B and others.

Masashi Heirakuji

aka heirakuG, born 1977, is an electronic musician and designer. He attended Chiba University and studied at Inter Medium Institue in Osaka. He patticipated frequently in various projects. He currently lives and works in Shimonoseki, Japan. He founded G-RECORD in 2008.

2010.06 ZKM/ heirakuG / audio&visual Live Performance in Karlsruhe, Germany
2010.06 H2/ heirakuG / audio Live Performance in Augsburg, Germany
2010.02 extern Audiovisual * play(string _title) / heirakuG /audio&visual Live Performance in Saga Japan
2009.12 Re:freq [Kyushu University] / heirakuG / audio&visual Live Performance in Fukuoka, Japan
2009.08 Korea-Japan exchange event [Shimonoseki City] / heirakuG / audio&visual Live Performance in Yamaguchi, Japan
2009.07 earth song / organize, audio&visual Live Performance in Yamaguchi, Japan
2009.06 session, form, sound [AIAV, yasuyuki nakamura]/soundworkshop in Yamaguchi, Japan
2008.04 texture / heirakuG / audio CD Release
2006.03 earth song [w/Apple Store Fukuoka Tenjin] / heirakuG / LapTop Music Live Performance in Fukuoka, Japan
2002.08 Tokyo Art Jungle, Tokyo Art Train [2dk] / graphic design, web design, assistant direction in Tokyo, Japan

Carl Stone

Carl Stone is one of the pioneers of live computer music, and has been hailed by the Village Voice as "the king of sampling" and "one of the best composers living in (the USA) today." He has used computers in live performance since 1986. Stone was born in Los Angeles and now divides his time between California and Japan. He studied composition at the California Institute of the Arts with Morton Subotnick and James Tenney and has composed electro-acoustic music almost exclusively since 1972. His works have been performed in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and the Near East. In addition to his schedule of performance, composition and touring, he is on the faculty of the Information Media Technology Department, School of Information Science and Technology at Chukyo University in Japan.

Yumiko Tanaka

Gidayu-shamisen player Yumiko Tanaka was born in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture. While a student majoring in musicology at Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music, Tanaka was attracted to the timbre of the gidayu-shamisen (also known as the futozao, or thick-necked, shamisen), which accompanies gidayu-bushi in Bunraku, traditional Japanese puppet theater. In 1979 she began studying gidayu recitation with female gidayu recitation artist Komanosuke Takemoto (a Living National Treasure), and the following year became a Bunraku disciple of the late gidayu-shamisen master Kinshi Nozawa (who was also a Living National Treasure). She has been performing traditional gidayu music under the name Yumi Tsuruzawa. Since her debut, Tanaka has been very active as a shamisen and vocal musician, not only in the world of traditional Japanese music, but Tanaka has a Master's degree in musicology from Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music. In 1991 she was awarded the Minister of Education's Art Encouragement Prize for Newcomers for the year 1990. In 1999 she received the Committee's Special Prize at the 68th Japan Music Competition. She is an associate professor at Hyogo University of Teacher Education, lecturing on Japanese music history and teaching shamisen and koto to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Masatoshi Utashima

Pianist, percussionist, improviser, composer, healer (bodywork and reiki).
His music is inspired by deep meditation of the Himalaya Method. Born in Hiroshima in 1970. Self-taught, he began to play the piano and compose at age 13. He also began to play percussion at age 15. He started performing professionally in 1990 as a drummer and pianist of the Mickie Yoshino Project. He has since performed with other improvisers, actors, dancers,curators, painters, photographers and various kinds of artists.

Seiichi Yamamoto

Guitar, vocals. Born in Amagasaki, Hyogo prefecture, 1958.
In the second half of the '80s, Yamamoto played guitar in Boredoms and formed the groups Omoide Hatoba and Rashimban. Since then he has been involved in a large number of projects and bands. From solo performances to collaborations with musicians from Japan and other countries, to film music, all the way to design, illustration, and writing, Yamamoto's activities are truly diverse.


Yukiko Eto

Originally from Fukuoka Prefecture, resides in Yamaguchi Prtefecture. Besides participating in pieces by the dance company Chikuha based out of Studio Imaichi, active as a solo performer in Yamaguchi and Fukuoka. Also currently involved with a performance video project "Meichi de Dance" (Dance at Points of Interest) at various scenic sites in Yamaguchi.

Yuko Hirai

Studied classical ballet from childhood. Moves to Tokyo to attend university and turns to contemporary dance after seeing a performance by the Mezurashii Kinoko Butoh Group. Selected as a member of Kanagawa Art and Culture Foundation's ASK (Artist Studio of Kanagawa), she encounters various choreographers and artists. Participating in works by Elizabeth Corbett (ex-William Forsythe Dance), Mezurashii Kinoko Butoh Group, Nibroll and Ludens, she begins solo performances in small theaters, galleries and clubs in Tokyo.
In 2000, she studies European choreography and dance techniques at the CDC (Toulouse Choreography Center) on a French government scholarship. While at CDC she encounters numerous European choreographers and dancers. After graduation, she participates in a project by choreographer Marco Bertini as well as "Tu Montes?" by Nadia Lauro (10th Kanagawa International Art Festival ' 03). In 2001, following her participation in a dumbtype project in Toulouse, she becomes a member, creating and touring with the group.
dumbtype "Voyage" Tour 2002~2008 (premiered in 2002 in Toulouse) travels to Japan, France, Germany, America, the Baltic States, Taiwan, Norway, Korea, Sweden, Scotland, Slovenia, Australia and Colombia.
Works on choreography for the film "No" by writer Sharon Lockheart in 2002. Relocates to Okayama in 2004, she remains active as a dancer, also working with a ballet studio and other dance groups. Becomes the artistic director of cieTNSH in 2005. Work "Tu ne m'auras jamais donné qu'un plaisir immediat" performed in France and Belgium. In June of 2008, participates in premiere of dumbtype's "Die Helle Kammer" at Theater der Welt in Germany.

Hirokazu Morikawa

Born in Shiga prefecture. Studied mime and circus in France. After returning to Japan, spends 5 years as a dancer with the Monochrom Circus. Begins solo performance in 2007. Noted for dances that utilize his explosive power, animal-like intuition and preeminent body balance, he begins choreographing his own work as well as participating in projects with Mizu To Abura, dumbtype, Junjun SCIENCE, Ted Stoffer and others. Performing domestically and abroad, he finds joy in collaborating with other artists and engaging the public in workshops.

Kouen Morishita

Body play and performance. Concerned with the "corporal" and the "consciousness" aspects of his own existence, begins performing in 1987. Seeking muscle and bone and shadow in the new millennium through body performance. The consciousness which passes through the body and the body which passes through consciousness. Distortion, balance, what it means to move, what it means to "exist." "To be suitable" for something, and "catabolism" and "alignment" - since childhood, concerned with a "sign"-like presence that floats in mid-air.

Richi Owaki

2004 Video assistant for Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media center in Japan. Dance video work "Crackers" was screened with the Dance and Media Japan of the Monaco Dance Forum in MONACO and JAPAN. 2003 Video assistant for "memorandum", performed by DUMB TYPE in Venice Biennale, ITALY.
2002 Video assistant for "Voyage", performed by DUMB TYPE in Toulouse, FRANCE.
2001 Video assistant and motor operation on "IRIS", performed by ShiroTAKATANI direction in Valencia Biennale, SPAIN.
2000 Tohoku University of Art and Design, media art course graduation. Worked on DUMB TYPE theater“memorandum” on tour. Paris, Seville, Amsterdam and Tokyo, etc.
AIDS Video Project presents documentary video "Club Luv+ last day" (60min) compilation. Studies dance for one month in America. 2000 Studies technique of Merce Cunningmam studio and Trisha Brown studio.
1999 exhibition "Garden for Weed" direction, catalog design. in space EDGE Shibuya JAPAN.
1999 Video assistant for "memorandum", performed by DUMB TYPE in Maubeuge, FRANCE.
1997 exhibition "DONEE=DONOR" staged at the hospital of the waste building in Yamagata City, JAPAN.
1993 Studies Japanese lute with Sgatamiz ARAI.
1977 Born on March 2, in Nagoya City JAPAN.


Hans Fjellestad

Hans Fjellestad is a musician and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. A "mad scientist improviser" (International DJ Magazine) and "master of analogue synthesis" (The WIRE), Hans tours and records extensively as a solo artist and in collaboration with numerous players on the experimental music scene in over a dozen countries. He also curates and hosts ResBox, the monthly music series at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.
As filmmaker, Hans is best known as the director of MOOG, the award-winning feature documentary about electronic music pioneer Robert Moog. He also directed the critically acclaimed documentary FRONTIER LIFE, which explores the strangely innovative art world of Tijuana, México. He is writer/producer of the recently completed documentary THE HEART IS A DRUM MACHINE and the upcoming feature film LORDS OF CHAOS with Japanese horror master Sion Sono. Hans also edits the popular television series METALOCALYPSE for Adult Swim. His work has screened in theaters and festivals throughout the world and broadcast on major television networks including Showtime, MTV, PBS and BBC.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Arts Commission Yokohama.

This project was also made possible, in part, by Meet the Composer's Global Connections Program.
Funding for Global Connections is provided by The Ford Foundation.