Shomyo: Buddhist Ritual Chant

March 6, 2014
past event image
Performance past event

Shomyo no Kai–Voices of a Thousand Years

Co-presented with the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation at St. Bartholomew’s Church.

St. Bartholomew’s Church
Park Ave. at 51st St.
Location and directions

The glorious, reverberating voices of two dozen Buddhist priests in colorful robes fill the grand hall of St. Bartholomew’s Church. One of the oldest living forms of vocal music, shomyo is believed to have originated in India before traveling along the Silk Road and eventually entering Japan in the 6th century, where it has been practiced ever since. The critically acclaimed group Shomyo no Kai–Voices of a Thousand Years, comprising priests from the Shingon and Tendai sects whose mission is to showcase the beauty of shomyo as an art form, performs the contemporary shomyo work Sonbou no Toki (Life in an Autumn), written in the aftermath of 9/11 by New York- and Tokyo-based composer Ushio Torikai.

Pre-performance Lecture on shomyo’s history and musical form led by composer Ushio Torikai. Open to ticket holders only. Begins one hour prior to the concert in the St. Bart’s Chapel. Space is limited, first come, first served. Acclaimed composer Ushio Torikai is known for her wide ranging works and for being one of the rare contemporary composers to compose for Buddhist chant groups. The New York Times applauded Torikai’s music as “…exuberant and spectacular.”

Limited tickets remain; remaining tickets will be on-sale at St. Bart’s only beginning at 5pm based on availability.

$30/$24 Japan Society and St. Bartholomew’s Church/Friends of Great Music members. General admission.

Advance Tickets available through the Japan Society Box Office. Walk-up tickets in the evening of the concert available through the St. Bartholomew’s Church box office, based on availability.

The tour of Shomyo: Buddhist Ritual Chant, produced by Japan Society, includes:
Haverford College (Haverford, PA) 
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, DC)

This program is supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan in the fiscal year 2013, Doug and Teresa Peterson, Dr. and Mrs. Carl F. Taeusch II, and The Asahi Shimbun Foundation.


The tour of Shomyo no Kai–Voices of a Thousand Years is made possible by a grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Ushio Torikai’s month-long residency in Tokyo for rehearsals of Sonbou no Toki (Life in an Autumn) was supported by the Asian Cultural Council.


  • Thursday, March 6, 2014
  • 7:30 pm