The University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst Fine Arts Center is honoring the late legendary Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto with a free online series of special performances.
Key details: “Sakamoto Blue Sky,” which refers to one of the composer’s most popular compositions, “Bibo no Aozora” (“Beautiful Blue Sky”), will be made available on the Fine Arts Center website, UMass announced on Monday. The series includes works commissioned in tribute to Sakamoto.
The line-up: The series will premiere on Thursday with Ken Ueno’s “How Many More Times Will I See the Full Moon.” This will be followed by Molissa Fenley’s “In the Garden (with Ryuichi)” on Sept. 7; Carl Stone’s “The Journey” on Sept. 14; and DJ Spooky’s “Butterfly Soul” on Sept. 21.
UMass noted in its announcement that these artists were “selected based on their connection to Sakamoto’s work and activism.”
“A core value we share”: Michael Sakamoto, the Fine Arts Center’s performing arts curator and Asian and Asian American Arts and Culture program director, said that the late composer’s “lifelong commitment to constant innovation connected to the real world we all live in” is a “core value we share.”
His passing: Sakamoto, who was born in Tokyo on Jan. 17, 1952, was the co-founder and keyboardist of the band Yellow Magic Orchestra, which pioneered several electronic music genres. Outside of experimental music, Sakamoto worked on over 40 soundtracks, such as those of “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,” “The Last Emperor” and “The Revenant.” The Oscar-winning musician died in March after years of battling cancer.