Reigakusha was established in 1985 as a group of professional gagaku instrumentalists dedicated to the study and performance of the classical gagaku repertoire and the creation of new music for the ancient instruments.
Led by the distinguished musician and composer Sukeyasu Shiba - a specialist in music for the ryuteki flute and biwa, a former member of the Music Department of the Imperial Household Agency, and professor of music at Tokyo University of the Arts - Reigakusha includes twenty two permanent members and a number of distinguished guest artists who perform regularly with the ensemble.
Since its formation, Reigakusha has won a high reputation for its performances of the traditional gagaku repertoire, its revival of classic works that had disappeared from the repertoire over the past hundred years, its reproduction of facsimile instruments based on the ancient Chinese and Japanese gagaku instruments preserved in the Shosoin (the eighth-century Imperial storehouse in Nara), and for its commissioning of new works utilizing the traditional instruments by leading Japanese composers.
At present Reigakusha's repertoire consists of more than sixty ancient gagaku works, thirty new works in the classic tradition, twenty revived works (based on scholarly research into music that had long disappeared from the traditional repertoire), and nearly ten major new works by contemporary composers as Toru Takemitsu, Toshi Ichiyanagi and Maki Ishii.
During the past decade, Reigakusha has presented regular concerts at the National Theater of Japan, Hamarikyu Asahi Hall in Tokyo and Izumi Hall in Osaka.
It has also appeared at the Kita-Kyushu International Music Festival, the Tsuyama International Music Festival, the Miyazaki Prefectural Hall and the Yatsugatake Music Festival.
In October 1995 Reigakusha presented a special outdoor performance of Takemitsu's In an Autumn Garden at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo.
In July 1996, Reigakusha was invited to Seattle, Tanglewood and the first Lincoln Center Festival in New York to present In an Autumn Garden by Toru Takemitsu.
Also in October 1998, the Ensemble gave the UK premiere of In an Autumn Garden in Glasgow, Birmingham, Cambridge as well as at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London as a part of the Takemitsu Festival, " Spirit Garden", artistically directed by Oliver Knussen.

Sukeyasu Shiba, Musical Director

Born into an hereditary family fo musicians associated with gagaku for more than 800 years, Mr. Sukeyasu Shiba served as a musician at the Department of Music of the Imperial Household Agency, for 27 years before leaving the post in 1984.
As a leading member of the Music Department of the Imperial Household Agency, Sukeyasu Shiba specialized in performing the ryuteki flute, the biwa (Oriental lute), and also bugaku dance. In addition to performing classical gagaku, he has devoted his energies to the revival of ancient Japanese musical forms.
He frequently performs contemporary music for traditional Japanese instruments and is also active as a composer.
Since retiring from his position at the Imperial Household Agency, he has performed widely on various types of transverse flutes.
He was invited to many major internatiolan muisc festivals including the Festival d'Autumne in Paris, the Lincoln Center Festival in New York, the Tanglewood Festival, the Vienna Modern, the Ultima Festvial in Oslo and others.
At present he is Professor of Music at Tokyo University of the Arts, a guest professor at the Kunitachi Music University, Musical Director of Reigakusha, and a leading member of the Tokyo International Music Ensemble.
Mr. Shiba was designated a Leading Artist of Traditional Japanese Music by the Ministry of Education.
In 1997, he won the Idemitsu Music Award.



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