This past fall, the still-new ensemble INTERWOVEN gave the premiere of the newest version of my Tumbling from the Ninth Height of Heaven. The piece was originally written way back in 2007, and was my first foray into composing for an Asian instrument. Back then, Duo vio-LINK-oto (Ryuki Mizutani, koto; Pia Liptak, violin) premiered the work, and now it’s taken on a life of its own. There are now four versions of the piece, which may seem excessive, but I’ve enjoyed putting each of them together. In addition to that first violin/koto duo, there is also a version for cello and koto, and a third version that adds shakuhachi to the cello/koto version. And now there is this version for two western string instruments and koto, and the performers (Keiko Tokunaga, violin; Hikaru Tamaki, cello; Yoko Reikano Kimura, koto) do a fantastic job with the music.

These performers are part of a larger ensemble, INTERWOVEN, which focuses on intercultural music: music in which the intersections of East Asia and the West are explored. This is an ensemble I’m excited about, since there are now many composers writing for Asian and Western instruments in combination. This group will give a sounding board to those composers, and will no doubt facilitate new additions to the intercultural repertoire. Exciting stuff.