Ryuichi Sakamoto. Photo: Luigi & Iango, 2023. @luigiandiango
The groundbreaking concert––fusing Sakamoto’s dimensional virtual performance with the real world––runs June 7 through July 2, 2023, in The Shed’s Griffin Theater; Tickets on sale Now
The Shed in partnership with Tin Drum announces the dates and ticket on-sale information for the world premiere of KAGAMI, the final staged concert and mixed reality music performance by the late, legendary composer and artist Ryuichi Sakamoto. Previews begin June 7; the production opens on June 9 and will run through July 2, 2023, in The Shed’s Griffin Theater.
KAGAMI, which translates to “mirror” in Japanese, began production in 2019. In December 2020, Director Todd Eckert and Sakamoto traveled from New York to Tokyo, where a unique four-system capture process was devised to record a specifically selected, career-spanning solo piano performance. The result is KAGAMI, a new kind of mixed reality concert experienced via headsets that immerse the audience in an environment combining the performance with the physical world. As one of Sakamoto’s final projects, the show will have its world premiere at The Shed this June.
Upon entering The Shed’s Griffin Theater, audiences are provided a headset to view a cinematic, dimensional Sakamoto performing on a Yamaha concert grand piano alongside virtual art created to accompany each song. Presented in surround sound, the experience allows the 150- person audience, seated in the round, to experience Sakamoto’s hour-long performance as both a collective and individual event, inviting all to connect to the work––and each other––throughout. KAGAMI features Sakamoto playing 10 original compositions including well-known works Energy Flow and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, along with rarely-played pieces, such as The Seed and the Sower.
An internationally beloved artist, Sakamoto established an acclaimed, decades-long body of work spanning electronic music, classical composition, dance music, and global performance. His celebrated film scores include The Revenant and The Sheltering Sky, and he won the Academy Award for his work on The Last Emperor.
Reflecting on KAGAMI, he wrote earlier in 2023:
There is, in reality, a virtual me.
This virtual me will not age, and will continue to play the piano for years, decades, centuries.
Will there be humans then?
Will the squids that will conquer the earth after humanity listen to me? What will pianos be to them?
What about music?
Will there be empathy there?
Empathy that spans hundreds of thousands of years. Ah, but the batteries won’t last that long.
“I don’t think there was ever so complete a relationship as that between Ryuichi Sakamoto and the piano,” says Director Todd Eckert. “It began traditionally enough, but through his relentless curiosity, it resulted in decades of redefining what sound can mean. Electronics and sonics and all manner of compositional elevation formed a body of work elementally human and monumental in both breadth and scale. But in the end, it all came back to his relationship with those 88 keys, and KAGAMI is just that. It is my hope that our audience feels the connection as profoundly as we did when we were making it.”
“This is one of the first fully staged concerts in mixed reality, and it’s no surprise that the uniquely inventive Ryuichi Sakamoto was working on this new interdisciplinary show in recent years,” says The Shed’s Artistic Director Alex Poots. “It’s a great honor to present KAGAMI, one of Sakamoto’s final works, with our innovative partners Todd Eckert and the Tin Drum team, and to share Sakamoto’s enduring legacy in this groundbreaking new artistic format.”
KAGAMI will also be presented at the 2023 Manchester International Festival in the United Kingdom, continuing in 2024 to the Sydney Opera House and Big Ears Festival.
Ticketing and General Information
Tickets for KAGAMI on sale Now. KAGAMI runs Tuesdays through Saturdays. For additional information and tickets, visit TheShed.org.
About Ryuichi Sakamoto
Ryuichi Sakamoto was a composer, producer, artist, and environmental activist born in Tokyo, making his debut in 1978 with the album Thousand Knives. Sakamoto’s diverse résumé includes pioneering electronic works in the legendary techno group Yellow Magic Orchestra, producing globally inspired pop albums and numerous classical compositions, two operas, and nearly 45 original film scores for directors, including Bernardo Bertolucci, Pedro Almodóvar, Brian De Palma, and Alejandro González Iñárritu. His film soundtracks have won prestigious awards, including an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, and many more. Sakamoto’s activism was widespread to include various environmental conservation efforts and promoting denuclearization and world peace. After 3/11 in Japan, he became a strong voice of support for the victims of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown in Fukushima.
Sakamoto made considerable contributions to the art world with both solo and collaborative installations and multi-piece exhibitions presented in galleries and museums worldwide. Most recently, M WOODS (Beijing) presented the largest and most comprehensive collection spanning 30 years devoted to Sakamoto’s artworks in various media, centering around eight large-scale sound installations.
In 2017, the documentary Ryuichi Sakamoto: CODA (Stephen Nomura Schible) was released, coinciding with the release of his renowned 14th solo album, async. Additionally, Sakamoto presented unique performances at the Park Avenue Armory (NYC), later released worldwide as the film Ryuichi Sakamoto: async Live at the Park Avenue Armory.
Premiering at the Holland Festival 2021, Sakamoto and longtime collaborator Shiro Takatani presented a new theater piece, TIME. TIME continues to tour the world, bringing the artist duo’s last collaboration to longtime and new fans alike.
On January 17, 2023, his 71st birthday, Sakamoto released 12, his 15th solo album. The new album is a collection of 12 songs selected from musical sketches Sakamoto recorded like a sound diary during his two-and- a-half-year battle with cancer.
Ryuichi Sakamoto passed away in March 2023 at the age of 71.
About Tin Drum
Tin Drum is the world’s premier studio producing content for mixed reality devices. Founded in 2016 by Todd Eckert, this collective of artists, engineers, designers, and technologists blends uniquely dimensional forms with the real world to create experiences impossible through other media. The results are without modern precedent and are changing the definition of engagement in recorded performance. Tin Drum creates content in collaboration with world-renowned artists, creators, and performers. In partnership with Christie’s, Tin Drum was the first to sell a mixed reality production at auction.
Follow Tin Drum on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and visit the website for upcoming announcements.
About Todd Eckert
Todd Eckert was first published as a music journalist at 14 and became an editor of the US national OnlyMusic Magazine at 17. He produced the award-winning feature film Control about Ian Curtis, the lead singer in Joy Division. In 2012, he joined the mixed reality technology group Magic Leap and served as director of content development before leaving to found Tin Drum in 2016. Eckert directed Marina Abramovic in The Life, which premiered in 2019 as the world’s first mixed reality, large-scale public performance.
About The Shed
The Shed is a new cultural institution of and for the 21st century in New York City. We produce and welcome innovative art and ideas, across all forms of creativity, to build a shared understanding of our rapidly changing world and a more equitable society. In our highly adaptable building on Manhattan’s west side, The Shed brings together established and emerging artists to create new work in fields ranging from pop to classical music, painting to digital media, theater to literature, and sculpture to dance. We seek opportunities to collaborate with cultural peers and community organizations, work with like-minded partners, and provide unique spaces for private events. As an independent nonprofit that values invention, equity, and generosity, we are committed to advancing art forms, addressing the urgent issues of our time, and making our work impactful, sustainable, and relevant to the local community, the cultural sector, New York City, and beyond.
Follow The Shed on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and visit the website at theshed.org.
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