Those who appreciate the finest koto and shamisen music will be familiar with the name of Satomi Fukami. Fukami is considered to be one of the most innovative of all mid-career hogaku performers. She developed a highly disciplined style based on classics combined with a modern sensibility. This enables her to perform contemporary music with technical perfection and liveliness. Throughout her performing career, she has commissioned and performed a number of works for the koto and, in doing so, has greatly added to the koto and shamisen repertory.

Fukami began her studies of traditional Japanese koto music with her mother when she was a child, before coming under the tutelage of the outstanding master and Living National Treasure, the late Kiyoko Miyagi. Fukami graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (Geidai) in the early '70s, and her performances have garnered a number of prestigious awards, including the grand prize for the annual government-sponsored arts festival in 1983. She performs frequently around the world and presently teaches at Geidai.

Although throughout the last decades she has done numerous performances of contemporary music, she will feature only classic pieces at her upcoming recital. She will be joined by another koto master, Keiko Nosaka, who, as I have mentioned in previous columns, is also a pioneer of contemporary koto music and was responsible for creating the now common 20-string koto in the late '60s. (The traditional koto has only 13 strings.)