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Zen-On Releases Four New Publications by Akira Nishimura and Soichi Konagaya

Jan. 01, 2021

Zen-On Releases Four New Publications by Akira Nishimura and Soichi Konagaya

On January 15, Zen-On will release four new publications: Akira Nishimura's Pentafor five percussionists (2020), Vikarala for twelve players and strings (2020), Giga (caricatures) for solo guitar (2019), and Soichi Konagaya's Moment for Alto Saxophone for alto saxophone and wind band. Recently, Zen-On has been making a number of new publications by their contemporary composers available to performers. Due to the pandemic, many musicians and composers have lost concert opportunities and Zen-On is committed to honoring their mission as a publisher to release new publications to support them.

Penta was commissioned by the Bunkyo Academy Foundation and premiered in 2020 at the Bunkyo Civic Hall / Small Hall in Tokyo. The composer notes:

"The tempo of the work is Allegro vivace throughout.  As the title shows, the number 5 is especially relevant in this work – for example, pieces in 4/5 time or 5 tones dominantly heard on the timpani. The work comprises 5 sections (A-B-C-D-E) and is approximately 5 minutes long. It’s a scherzo-like divertimento."

Vikarala was commissioned and premiered by the Izumi Sinfonietta Osaka, under the baton of Norichika Iimori, at Izumi Hall in 2020. Vikarala was inspired by the composer's visit to Shin-Yakushi-ji, a Buddhist temple in Nara completed in the mid-8th century.  Statues of Yakushi Nyorai (Bhaisajyaguru) and its protective deities the Twelve Divine Generals are designated as national treasures and are enshrined there. The title “Vikarala” comes from one of the Twelve Divine Generals, and the work comprises five parts that are to be played continuously.

Composed in 2019, Giga (caricatures) was commissioned and premiered at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan by Daisuke Suzuki. Akira Nishimura says,

"Commissioned by guitarist Daisuke Suzuki whom I deeply respect, Giga for guitar solo was written from September to October 2019 and dedicated to Daisuke. The duration of performance is approximately ten minutes. It consists of three movements which have caricature-like characters:

I. Cantabile molto espressivo e rubato. Sempre “emotional” e “sexy feeling”.
This movement should be played very expressively and sexily in a squirmy manner, but the chords, which are properly fixed, can be played by clutching the neck with your left hand.  This is a movement of espressivo and eroticism in a tightly tied state.

II. Nostalgia sentimental, molto espressivo e tempo rubato.
This movement is played with a bottleneck and a pick. The melody with pseudo-Oriental melisma is played in such a way as to spin. Starting from monophony, the melody gets thicker and becomes monophony again at the end. As the bottleneck slides to change the pitch against the strings which are not pressed, the sound is released from the scale of the frets. This is an unstable sentimental song with nostalgia for the age of no frets.

III. Presto con passione!
This movement begins with a dance in the lower range in 6/8 time, in which irregular accents sometimes appear.  It is slightly maniacal. After it gets quiet, rhythmic figures with sixteenth notes enhance the mood. But, when it descends to the sixth string, the dance music easily becomes self-destructive and collapses. It is a meaningless dance. The coda of the whole work begins with the harmonics. The chords of the first movement appear suddenly and violently, but they are denied by the sharp rubbing sound of the metal strings. Harmonics appear again to close the work."

Composed in 2017, Soichi Konagaya's Moment for Alto Saxophone was commissioned and premiered by Hiroko Senoh and Shimane Prefectural Izumo Senior High School Wind Band. The composer notes:

"This piece does not represent anything specifically.  I merely wrote it because I wanted to have a solo performer play this kind of melody. When the performer holds the sax and plays it, the sound explodes and the world broadens out. I call that “the saxophone moment." I would like for the solo performer to imagine the breadth of each scene and play accordingly."

To learn more about Akira Nishimura and Soichi Konagaya, visit:

Akira Nishimura
Penta (2020)
for five percussionists

Vikarala (2020)
for 12 players and strings
1(pic., afl).1.1(bcl).1-

Giga (caricatures) (2019)
for solo guitar

Soichi Konagaya
Moment for Alto Saxophone (2017)
for alto saxophone and wind band