August 24, 2012 –
2011 Composer and U.S./Japan Creative Artist Michelle Nagai Comments on the Creative Artists Fellowship.
1. How did you learn about the U.S./ Japan Creative Artists Program?
I learned about this program several years ago, while searching around on the internet. At the time, I didn’t feel “ready” to apply. A few years later, my friend Jane Rigler went to Japan on the program and was very encouraging when I approached her for advice on applying.
2. What was your primary artistic objective for this fellowship and were you able to achieve it?
My primary objective was to be able to steep myself in the culture and day-to-day activities and lifestyles of a rural Japanese village. I absolutely accomplished this, and in fact, went far deeper into that process than I ever would have imagined possible. As a result, I was able to accumulate a wealth of experiential knowledge that will figure directly into the creation of an opera I am now working on. I had initially planned to study the music of blind “goze” performers. I did study this music, and I made a fantastic connection with my teacher. However, that study would have been insignificant if I had not simultaneously been able to stay in the village where I did. Learning about the music WITHIN the specific rural culture that the music emerged FROM was really an essential piece of my endeavor and I feel very fortunate to have accomplished it.
3. How did this program affect your professional development with regard… » READ MORE