One of the peaks of the jubilee 10th year of the International Shakuhachi Festival Prague was a concert of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, which took place on 5 June at the New Stage of the National Theatre. Held in collaboration with the Prague Spring International Music Festival, the event presented four pieces for orchestra and traditional Japanese instruments, the bamboo flute shakuhachi being one of them. The pieces included some written by some of the best-known Japanese composers (Akira Nishimura, Toru Takemitsu, Hirose Ryohei) as well as a Canon for Orchestra and three shakuhachi players by a prominent Czech shakuhachi expert and the festival's president Vlastislav Matoušek.
Matoušek finished his "conceptual piece in the magical shape of a spiral" in 1997. "A mirror, crab, enigmatic, spiral canon," he noted, "with timbre as the most important element contraposing to and merging with a pentatonic canon in the shape of the Möbius´ strip..." The solo shakuhachi parts were played by Kifu Mitsuhashi, Christopher Yohmei Blasdel and Jim Franklin, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Marko Ivanović. The Canon is already a second piece by Matoušek to have received its premiere at the festival, the first being Counting Rhyme performed at the opening concert.
The orchestral concert was preceeded by a chamber one, called 'Czech Composers for Japanese Instruments' and offering world premieres of works by young Czech composers Daniel Chudovský, Soňa Vetchá, Jan Rösner and Roman Zabelov.
5 June 2016, New Stage of the National Theatre, Prague
International Shakuhachi Festival Prague, Prague Spring International Music Festival
Vlastislav Matoušek: Canon for Orchestra and three shakuhachi players (world premiere)
Kifu Mitsuhashi, Christopher Yohmei Blasdel, Jim Franklin
Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, conductor: Marko Ivanović