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Noriko Koide's Riverside Premiered by Kentaro Kawase and the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra

Feb. 16, 2024

The Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra and Kentaro Kawase will premiere Noriko Koide's Riverside on February 23-24 at NTK Hall Forest Hall in Nagoya. This is the second work of Koide commissioned by the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra where she is Composer-in-Residence. The first work of Koide's to be commissioned by the ensemble, Güiro, Güiro, was premiered in September 2023.

Koide chose the title Riverside to refer to the banks of the Sanzu River. This mythological river of the Buddhist tradition, also known as the "river of three crossings," is comparable to the river Styx in Greek mythology. Here, too, it is about the boundary between life and death.

While working on her piece, the composer was concerned with questions such as the path to the Sanzu River and its actual nature. Is there a clear boundary at all or is it very blurred? Koide conceived her composition from this point and let the flow of her thoughts drive her through a wide variety of themes and let them take shape in music. She notes:

"The breathing river, fluctuation and weathering of emotions, burial in the air, burial in the sea, blurring of the boundary... Melting of things that continue to exist despite the rapid changes within, fermentation, gradual transformation of something into something else...Big things that are hard to resist, changes in atmospheric pressure, climate change, rising sea levels... The passage from the Hōjōki according to which the flow of the river never stops and yet the water remains the same..."

Additionally, Noriko Koide has been shortlisted for an RPS Award in the Large-Scale Composition category for her orchestral work, Swaddling Silks and Gossamer Rain. Billed by The Sunday Times as "the biggest night in UK classical music," the RPS Awards shine a light on brilliant musical individuals, groups and initiatives inspiring communities across the UK. From star soloists, to heroic amateur musicians, the RPS Awards tell a vibrant, vital and uplifting story about classical music’s resonance, impact and reach. The 2024 RPS awards ceremony will take place on March 5 at Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Swaddling Silk and Gossamer Rain has all the hallmarks of Koide's unique compositional style and was well received following the world premiere performance by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Dalia Stassevska in October 2022 as part of the BBC Proms Japan. In July 2023, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Elim Chan, performed the UK premiere of Swaddling Silks and Gossamer Rain at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. 

Swaddling Silk and Gossamer Rain draws its power from the unspoken. The work's poetic title hints at its form: A dynamic slowly develops from recumbent sounds, in which Koide uses larger musical gestures sparingly. Rhythmically accentuated movements are carefully added, like delicate brush strokes on a sheet of canvas. This makes the piece seem delicate but also deliberate. The composer notes: "Western music language and gamelan music language often proceed in the exact opposite directions, [however], I'm finally starting to feel like Mac (Macintosh) and Windows are installed together."

Swaddling Silk and Gossamer Rain was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and is available to listen on BBC Sounds.

Listen to Noriko Koide's Pipakolop (2009):
Pipakolop by Noriko Koide/Conservatorium van Amsterdam/Bas Wiegers, Conductor

To learn more about Noriko Koide, visit

Noriko Koide
Riverside (2023)
for orchestra, pno-str

Swaddling Silk and Gossamer Rain
for orchestra
3.2.2.bcl.2- sus.cym; II: vib, III: mar; IV: tam-t, sus.cym)-hp, pno-str