Performance features Japanese taiko drums and flute

"Katachi: The Shape of Sounds in Silence," a performance of Japanese taiko drums and flute, will be presented at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the Class of 1970 Theater at Whitman College.

Kaoru Watanabe -- a veteran of Kodo, Japan's foremost taiko drum ensemble -- will present a performance featuring arrangements of traditional Japanese hôgaku (classical) and minzoku geinô (folk) pieces as well as contemporary compositions and jazz-influenced improvisations. He will be joined by New York percussionist Barbara Merjan.

Taiko, which means "large drum," has been featured in Japanese music since ancient times. In the late 1950s, a new ensemble style emerged that featured drums as the primary instrument and combined percussion with athletic choreography. This performance of both traditional and contemporary styles will demonstrate the balance between showmanship and traditional aesthetic sensibilities.

A reception will follow the performance, which is sponsored by the departments of music and East Asian studies.