Article by Ka Yee Chan
Photo credit Julie Lemberger

On Friday, May 2, the Japan Society proudly presented the PROJECT IX-PLEIADES as part of current 60th Anniversary Performing Arts Season. It is inspired by the music of Iannis Xenakis, and directed and choreographed by Luca Veggetti. The percussionist, Kuniko Kato, and dancer, Megumi Nakamura, are the performers of the project.

PROJECT IX –PLEIADES concludes Japan Society’s 60th Anniversary Performing Arts Season with internationally well-known performers and musicians. Prior to its North American premiere at Japan Society, PROJECT IX-PLEIADES had its world premiere at Kanagawa Arts Theatre in Yokohama, Japan on April 19, 2014.

Japan Society’s Artist Director Yoko Shioya described PROJECT IX –PLEIADES, “In addition to the commanding artistry, and refreshing innovation of the creative team, this work is chock full of 21st-century state-of-the-art technology that challenges the music of one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. As the culminating event in our anniversary season, this project demonstrates the type of creative courage that I so admire, and absolutely embodies one of the directions that the Society’s Performing Arts Program is headed for in the future.”

The performance had a very interesting start. The show began with Kuniko Kato playing music behind the screen and Megumi Nakamura began dancing to the music on the stage. Kato and Nakamura started setting up the instruments and dance moves in front of the audience. Kato then played live music on the stage while Nakamura danced to the beats and the sound of the piece. PROJECT IX- PLEIADES is a very contemporary and nude performance. It is different from traditional performances, and is filled with phenomenal techniques and creativity.

Kuniko Kato is a well-known, gifted musician. She studied under legendary marimba player Keiko Abe at Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo. She later advanced her studies under Robert van Sice at Rotterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands. She has been recorded in concerts, played in music festivals and numerous shows. Her most recent CD , Cantus (2013) is all about Jazz. If you want to know more about her, please visit:

Megumi Nakamura, the dancer of the PROJECT IX- PLEIADES, studied ballet since 1975. At age 17, she was awarded the IBM prize at the first Asia-Pacific Competition and received the Professional Prize at the Prix de Lausanne Competition in 1988. She performed the works of internationally known contemporary choreographers including Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, and Nacho Duato. She is now coaching Kylian choreographies at renowned ballet companies including Opera de Paris.

Luca Veggetti is the soul of the project. He is a choreographer and director from Bologna. He was trained at La Scala and danced in London and the U.S. He officially began his career as a choreographer and director in 1990. He has a great interest in contemporary music, experimental forms, and new technologies, and that was exactly presented in PROJECT IX-PLEIADES.

Veggetti became the first 20th century Italian choreographer to work with the legendary Kirov Ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. He continues to be very active today. His upcoming engagements include the staging of Toshio Hosokawa’s monodrama The Raven at the 2014 NY PHIL BIENNIAL, a new initiative by the New York Philharmonic, and the opera Vision of Lear, also composed by Hosokawa, which is scheduled to premiere in Hiroshima.

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