• Music

10 composers band together to inspire unity

Ten popular composers teamed up to create the piano piece “Kizuna Piano,” created as a serial collaboration, in order to inspire social unity and create bonds amid the prolonged coronavirus pandemic.

The project’s leader, composer Taro Iwashiro, initiated the project out of concern over growing social divisions caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“[The composers] all shared my desire to bond through the piano, and none of those whom I contacted turned down my offer,” he said.

Joining Iwashiro are Kiyoko Ogino, Makoto Ozone, Dai Sakakibara, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Satoru Shionoya, Keiichiro Shibuya, Miho Hazama, Dai Fujikura and Takatsugu Muramatsu.

They represent a wide range of musical genres, including jazz, classical and film music. Each participant composed 16 measures of the piece. Their order was determined based on their schedule.

“I asked them to keep the level of difficulty at a degree that would allow someone to start playing the piano after listening to this piece,” Iwashiro said.

While some composers smoothly took the “baton” by utilizing motifs inherited from the previous composers in the sequence, others created somewhat difficult sections that ooze their own individuality.

“I hope you will try to guess who made which part of the piece,” Iwashiro said.

The piano piece is currently posted on the project’s website at http://www.kizunapiano.com/

The website also features a video of a model performance by Yuko Mifune and video comments by the composers, one of whom said the event was exciting to participate in.

All royalties from the work and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the sheet music, which can be downloaded for a fee, will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.

Iwashiro, 56, a graduate of Tokyo University of the Arts, was in charge of music for the 2000 NHK taiga historical drama “Aoi Tokugawa Sandai.” He also composed the music for the film “Red Cliff.”

In 2013, he became the initiator of “Spiritual Songs,” a project by eight composers to support the recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. “I’m a composer who usually takes orders, so it was indeed a new experience for me to call on my peers,” he said. “This project is somewhat of an evolution of that project, with gentle, serene piano pieces that are enjoyable both to listen to and to play.”