Japan’s 2011 tragic earthquake and tsunami caused triple meltdown at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plants. Due to high radioactive leakage from these nuclear plants, thousands of people had to leave their hometowns. Even though there are still MANY issues to resolve, I feel that they have been forgotten by the world.
I will be presenting Suite for the Forgotten (composed by Masa Ishikawa), a large jazz orchestra piece with strings, to keep raising awareness of these on-going issues Fukushima and its surrounding areas have been facing.
I will also perform Prayer, one of my original compositions, to recognize and honor those who died in this tragic event as well as to express my deepest condolences to people who have lost their loved ones.
Originally from Fukushima Japan, Masayoshi Ishikawa grew up in a city called Aizu Wakamatsu. Throughout his primary and secondary school years, Ishikawa actively participated in several choirs. He came to the United States in 2003 to begin his formal musical training in Seattle Washington, where he first found his passion for piano and the art of jazz.
As a pianist, he has performed at many jazz festivals/concerts including Italy, China and the United States as well as engaged in multiple professional recording sessions. He was chosen to perform as one of the five finalists for 2016 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition. Ishikawa enjoys interacting with other musicians and am thankful for cultivating meaningful relationships through performing music.
As equal to his dedication to jazz performance, Ishikawa also enjoys crafting music with various instrumentations. His composition, Hotaru (firefly), was selected as the winner of 2014 Downbeat Student Music Awards in Graduate Original Composition for Small Ensemble. His composition Wasururuka was also selected as one of the finalists for the International Composition Competition “Maurice Ravel” in 2016.
As a sincere respect to Stevie Wonder, one of his musical heroes, Ishikawa premiered Stevie Wonder Recomposition Project in 2013. In this project, Ishikawa selected multiple Wonder compositions to recompose for chamber jazz ensembles with various instrumentations. Ishikawa also wrote and premiered a multi-movement work titled Suite for the Forgotten in 2015. The suite is dedicated to people who are currently living in Fukushima under the risk of exposure to radiation. In this composition, Ishikawa employed a string quartet as well as French horn into the traditional jazz big band instrumentation. Several of his compositions have been published from UNC Jazz Press.
Ishikawa holds two Master of Music Degrees-one in jazz composition from the University of South Florida and one in jazz piano performance from the University of Northern Colorado. He received Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Composition from the University of NebraskaLincoln in 2015. Ishikawa currently serves as a Visiting part-time Assistant Professor at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota where he teaches Aural and Keyboard Skills as well as Applied Jazz Piano