On its 14th overseas concert tour, Tenri University Gagaku Music Society visited Russia and Ukraine between March 5 and 19 to perform gagaku, one of the finest examples of traditional Japanese performing arts. The 27-member ensemble was extremely well received at each of its seven concert venues.
Its first performance took place at the prestigious Moscow State University. After a brief introduction of Tenrikyo as well as gagaku, the Tenri University students performed two instrumental pieces, a vocal piece, and two pieces from the dance repertoire. Following the concert, an event was organized to enable them to meet students from Moscow State University and to present an annotated demonstration of gagaku.
The Tenri students next performed at Kaluga State Pedagogical University, located in the city of Kaluga, which is 200 km southwest of Moscow. Their concert attracted some 500 people, including members of the general public. The gagaku ensemble then made its way to St. Petersburg, performing at two venues, the Shuvalov Palace and Saint-Petersburg State University. Their performance at the university was attended by 270 people.
Upon flying to Kiev, Ukraine, on the 12th, the gagaku troupe gave a press conference, which included a short performance, and later attended a reception given in their honor at the Japanese Embassy. The next day, the Tenri students performed for a near-capacity audience at the 1 ,200-seat Shevchenko Theatre of Opera and Ballet. Prior to this concert, the ensemble had also appeared live on a TV program. The following day, a lecture on gagaku was organized at an art college in the city.
Another venue for their performance in Ukraine was provided by Odessa State University. The ensemble then returned to Moscow to perform at the Moscow State University of Linguistics before flying home.