Shomyo no Kai

The glorious, reverberating voices of two dozen Buddhist priests in colorful robes fill the Terrace Theater. One of the oldest living forms of vocal music, shomyo is believed to have originated in India before traveling along the Silk Road and eventually entering Japan in the 6th century, where it has been practiced ever since. The critically acclaimed group Shomyo no Kai–Voices of a Thousand Years, comprising priests from the Shingon and Tendai sects whose mission is to showcase the beauty of shomyo as an art form, performs the contemporary shomyo work Sonbou no Toki (Life in an Autumn), written in the aftermath of 9/11 by New York and Tokyo-based composer Ushio Torikai. The three-city American Tour of Shomyo no Kai – Voices of a Thousand Years is produced and organized by Japan Society, New York. This tour is funded by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan in the fiscal year 2013; and a grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Ushio Torikai’s month-long residency in Tokyo for rehearsals of Sonbou no Toki (Life in an Autumn) is supported by the Asian Cultural Council.