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Strings and Serpents is a multicultural collaboration between pianists Andy Milne and Benoît Delbecq, animator Saki Murotani, and the Japanese koto duo TsuguKaji-KOTO (Ai Kajigano and Tsugumi Yamamoto). Commissioned by the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA, funded by The Japan Society and New Music USA, and co-commissioned by Lincoln Center, the program features a 60-minute animated film accompanied by combined live piano and koto performances.
An exploration of the synthesis of Japanese and Western musical structures, Strings and Serpents seamlessly blends traditional and modern koto textures with the language of jazz and contemporary improvisation. Compositions explore a polymetric approach for prepared piano and koto, expanding the interaction of rhythmic forms and sonic colors between the music and the animation, which is based on the Rainbow Serpent mythology and employs 2-D and 3-D computer-generated imagery (CGI). The story is told without dialogue or subtitles and experiments elegantly with color, shape, texture, light, and motion to enrich the relationship between the instruments.
Commissioned by the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA, funded by The Japan Society and New Music USA, and co-commissioned by Lincoln Center