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Yumi Kurosawa Takes the Koto on Global Journey with "Metamorphosis" Album

By: Kimberly Porter | Yumi Kurosawa "Metamorphosis" Album

The Global Launch of METAMORPHOSIS Album with Yumi Kurosawa, ZOHO Records

Producer Kabir Sehgal helps Kurosawa infuse Japanese classical tradition with Latin jazz, Middle Eastern and other musical flavors on new album With her first album since 2015’s Looking Up At The Sky, Yumi Kurosawa takes the iconic Japanese Koto with her trio in bold new directions on Metamorphosis (March 24, 2023, ZOHO Records). Yumi renews a 1300-year-old musical tradition, weaving traditional Japanese forms with threads of Afro-Latin, Jazz, Middle Eastern and Western neo-classical forms to create something entirely new.

METAMORPHOSIS ALBUM TAKES FLIGHT Production by Latin Grammy award winner Kabir Sehgal helped Yumi fulfill the long-held goal that brought her to New York from Morioka-city, Japan in 2002. “I wanted to blend my music with other cultures,” she says. “Over the past three to four years I knew I was almost there. I don’t mean to say that I’m completely satisfied—we keep on growing forever until we leave this world—but during this recording I felt that I might have reached what I had wanted twenty years ago.” Accompanying Yumi Kurosawa in this process of evolution and transformation are her trio: Naho Parrini on violin and Eric Phinney percussion and tabla, along with guest artists Carlos Maldonado on Latin percussion and Zac Zinger on alto saxophone and Shakuhachi.

The Global Launch of METAMORPHOSIS Album with Yumi Kurosawa, ZOHO Records


Yumi Kurosawa founded her trio in 2020. The trio serves to expand Yumi’s compositional writing of music for ensembles. As a composer, to add color to her music, she chose violin and percussion. Since the Koto is a plucked and percussive instrument Yumi is already comfortable playing along with various percussive instruments. To create a sustained sound, however, Yumi chose the violin to add the element of lyricism. This trio expands her timbral range in order to achieve balance for her compositional vision. Guest artist Carlos Maldonado added Latin elements through additional percussion and Zac Zinger who played both Shakuhachi and alto saxophone also brought his sound to Yumi’s work.


Recorded in October, 2022 at Power Station at Berklee NYC, Metamorphosis unfolds through a series of aural landscapes—from the percussive energy and busy streets of Yumi’s adopted home in “One day Monday,” through a series of South America snapshots stitched together on Yumi’s koto (“Journey”), to the Japanese mountains and cherry blossom petals that inspired “Dawn.” “Restless Daydream,” commissioned by Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art for their 2019 exhibition of Japanese painter and calligrapher Tomioka Tessai, is emblematic of Yumi’s work, often responding to other media, at America’s most esteemed cultural institutions — which include performances at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Apollo Theater (as well as the support of Chamber Music America’s Artistic Project program, funded through the generosity of The Howard Gilman Foundation). In “New Land Found,” tension between searching rubato and a locked-in groove mirrors the meandering path to discovery, while “Zealla” uses Middle Eastern scales, minor thirds and angular lines to tell a story of passion. “Mandala,” another commission from the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery, evokes the sacred space created by this Buddhist visual tradition. “Inner Space,” Yumi’s very first composition, has been re-arranged to show the evolution, and the full spectrum, of her compositional career. “Departure,” inspired by the autumn Obon festival in Morioka—a holiday commemorating ancestors—concludes the album. Born into a koto-playing family, Yumi has won several first prizes at Japan’s National Koto Competition. But her ear was always open to new sounds and sensibilities—and in Metamorphosis they’ve taken full flight. Since her arrival in NY, Yumi has always focused on blending her compositional style with other cultures and traditions to create new, vibrant and borderless music. While the koto is a Japanese traditional musical instrument with a long history in Japan, Yumi breaks away from the traditional canon, using her own compositions to unite various cultures and work with talented musicians to reimagine what koto music can become. Yumi received an Artistic Projects grant from Chamber Music America in 2022 funded through The Howard Gilman Foundation. This commission led to the creation of this recording. Follow below at:

Yumi Kurosawa Trio Album Launch March 30th 2023

The Metamorphosis album recording and the world premiere of several music pieces are commissioned by Chamber Music America’s Artistic Projects program funded through the generosity of Howard Gilman Foundation. Yumi Kurosawa - 20-string koto Naho Parrini – violin Eric Phinney – percussion with special guests: Carlos Maldonado – Latin percussion Zac Zinger – shakuhachi & alto saxophone



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