On Sunday, May 24, Composer Masatora Goya will present a new duo piece for konghou and kugo, ancient Asian harps with the same roots as the culmination of his Exploring the Metropolis Con Edison Composers Residency at Flushing Town Hall. Recently revived once-extinct harps, konghou (China) and kugo (Japan), will meet once again in New York City to find a new story.
The event is free, but with RSVPs. The event starts at 1:30 PM.
We talked with Masatora Goya about what’s in store.
Tell us about your background.
I was born in Malaysia and grew up in Japan. I loved singing and played rugby through my teenage years. I majored in sociology and started performing in musicals and bands while in college. Initially, I came to the US to study and pursue a career in musical theater both as an actor and writer, but while pursuing music degrees, one thing led to another and eventually the composition in a broader context has become my main focus.
Why did you pursue this career path?
I was a kind of kid always daydreaming, talking in my head and playing imaginary movies in the back of my mind. I always wanted to create something and express my imaginary world. However, I am extremely clumsy and never was good at playing instruments at all. I sang well, but my parents kept discouraging me all the time so that I never thought I was capable of creating anything. In my later 20’s I felt I really needed to write something and wrote a song. It took me another 10 years to become a composer, but I just felt I couldn’t live without giving shape to my imagination.
At your performance, what will audience members experience?
I am presenting a duo piece for two Oriental harps that went extinct once in history. They share the same roots, but China and Japan revived them in different shapes, which I felt very intriguing. When I write music, I always have this imaginary cinema and a certain kind of emotional quality that I try to convey (which I am figuring out so hard right now!). I am hoping that the audience can feel the emotional journey of the two harps and relate to it.
What audience members will your presentation appeal to?
Given the nature of instruments, Asian people may show an interest in this, but it should appeal to any music-loving people.
What do you want people to take away (learn, discover…) from your presentation?
The combination of these two types of harps, konghou and kugo, would be the first and only of its kind. I hope people can witness the process of this wild challenge.
Is this your first time presenting at Flushing Town Hall? What does Flushing Town Hall mean to you?
I have attended a few performances at Flushing Town Hall before as an audience member. This venue has become my favorite workspace through the Exploring the Metropolis ConEdison Composers Residency program. It is a very unique gathering place in the heart of a very Asian area of New York City. Every time I come here, I feel like traveling to a foreign Asian city, which has been the main inspiration for my duo piece.