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APRIL 20

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A land of paper screens, wooden houses, and bamboo groves, Japan never developed anything resembling the bombast of European orchestral music. In Japan, “classical” music is the delicate, ephemeral sounds of koto and samisen (both stringed instruments), shakuhachi (a sort of flute), and voice. Those are the timbres of the Yamada-ryu Koto Ensemble of Tokyo, a septet that plays classical music from the Edo period—“Edo” being the name of Tokyo back when the shoguns still ruled Japan from Kyoto. This music is like a Zen version of the Indian raga: equally sinuous, but quieter and with more open space between the notes. (No wonder John Cage was so taken with it.) The concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is preceded by a lecture and demonstration at 6:45 p.m. At the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th & Jefferson Dr. SW. FREE. (202) 357-2700. (Mark Jenkins)