Healing, Art & Culture

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Tomoko Sugawara

Tomoko Sugawara

Tomoko Sugawara (kugo harp) was born in Tokyo, Japan, and began playing the Irish harp at age twelve. She took up the concert harp at sixteen, and it was her main instrument when she graduated from Tokyo University of Fine Arts. Since 1991 she has also played reconstructions of the kugo. She has given numerous solo recitals on the concert harp and the kugo in major international venues, such as the World Harp Congress (in Prague and Amsterdam), Indiana University, Columbia University, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and The British Museum.

Her kugo CD “Along the Silk Road” has garnered extraordinary reviews. Invented in Iraq about 1,900 B.C. the kugo instrument spread far and wide. In East Asia the instrument arrived on the Silk Road 550 A.D. and lasted 600 years. In western Asia it died out around 1700 A.D. With harp scholar Bo Lawergren she tries to bring it back to life. She plays music from the time the harp flourished (800 – 1000 A.D. in east Asia, and 1300 A.D. in Persia) as well as pieces recently composed for her.