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Top taiko player marks 25th anniversary

by Tai Kawabata

The leading taiko (Japanese drum) player Eitetsu Hayashi will play Solo Career 25th Anniversary Concerts in Kansai and Tokyo in December. He will perform four pieces by contemporary Japanese composers accompanied by an orchestra. Before the concerts, he will also release some new CDs to mark the 25th anniversary of his solo career.

Born in 1952, Hayashi started his taiko career as a founding member and premier performer of the Sado Ondekoza and Kodo groups. He started solo activities in 1982 and developed his own taiko playing methods, including solo playing of a large taiko and various other drums. He has collaborated with artists from many countries in folk music, rock, jazz, dance and more.

At the coming concerts, Hayashi will collaborate with Century Orchestra Osaka in Kansai and with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. Chikara Iwamuar will conduct the orchestras.

Across the various pieces, Hayashi will be backed by timpani, pipe organ and various styles of orchestra as he plays his collection of taiko drums. And on “Monoprism,” a 1976 piece by Maki Ishii, Hayashi and six taiko players will perform together with an orchestra on the first taiko concerto ever composed.

The Kansai concert will be held from 4 p.m. on Dec. 8 at Hyogo-Kenritsu Geijutsu Bunka Center Dai Hall in Nishinomiya (¥7,500, ¥6,500 and ¥5,500; [06] 6233-8771). The Tokyo concert starts at 7 p.m. on Dec. 14 at Suntory Hall (¥8,000, ¥6,000 and ¥4,000; [03] 3201-8116, [03] 5766-5025, [03] 3584-9999; www.t-onkyo.jp ).

On Dec. 5, Hayashi will issue a triple-CD and DVD set of representative performances from the past 25 years (¥6,800) and a Super Audio hybrid CD of “Konen no Uta (Voices Beyond),” which features singing and taiko playing (¥3,000).