(Cycles) America

from by Kojiro Umezaki

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In some areas of Japan, still today on every evening, the theme from the Largo movement chimes out from loudspeakers at local community centers announcing it's time to go home.

Antonín Dvořák arrives in New York City in 1892, the year "The Death Bed Edition" of Leaves of Grass by one of the city's most iconic citizens, Walt Whitman, is published. In it appears a work titled, "America," of which there exists an Edison gramophone recording of Whitman purportedly reading the work himself. Electronically-enhanced sounds of incoming, crashing and receding waves from the American oceans frame the vibraphone part alongside Whitman's recitation over a retrograde and re-imagined arrangement of one of world's most recognized symphonic works–the Largo movement from Dvořák’s From the New World Symphony, speaking possibly to how the optimism and uniqueness in the America observed and embraced by both Whitman and Dvořák ebbs and flows over time.


from (Cycles), released April 15, 2014
Composed in 2009 by Kojiro Umezaki for Joseph Gramley.
Sample: "America" courtesy of The Walt Whitman Archive.

Joseph Gramley: vibraphone and percussion
Kojiro Umezaki: electronics



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Kojiro Umezaki New York, New York

Noted by The New York Times as a “virtuosic, deeply expressive shakuhachi player and composer,” Kojiro Umezaki performs regularly with the Grammy-nominated Silk Road Ensemble. Umezaki grew up in Tokyo and is a performer of the shakuhachi, a composer of electro-acoustic works, and a technologist with interests in integrating global musical practices with electronics. His latest album is (Cycles). ... more

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