Kitaro’s latest project, Impressions of the West Lake is a modern day opera conceived and directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Hero, Curse of the Golden Flower), the visionary artist behind the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The production is highlighted by music composed by Kitaro.
Perhaps the single most significant collaboration on Impressions of the West Lake is between Zhang and the opera’s composer, Kitaro. This pairing of East-meets-East is a rare combination of two artists at the peak of their creative talents. The opera also marks a reunion for Kitaro and music arranger Randy Miller, the pair’s first effort together since the Golden Globe-winning soundtrack to Oliver Stone’s 1993 film Heaven and Earth. This opera is another impressive credit for Miller, whose lengthy career as a composer, orchestrator, and conductor for films includes such highlights as Without Limits, First Snow, and The Soong Sisters (Best Original Score, Hong Kong Film Award).
Impressions of the West Lake represents the latest artistic success in the long, storied career of Kitaro. As a Grammy and Golden Globe award-winning artist, this incredibly prolific composer and performer has continued his reign in the international spotlight and at the forefront of musical innovation ever since the release of his debut solo album, Astral Voyage, in 1978. His numerous recording highlights include 1986’s Tenku (his U.S. debut), 1987’s The Light of the Spirit (a collaboration with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and Kitaro’s American breakthrough), as well as Sacred Journey of Ku-kai, a multi-volume series of albums inspired by the tragedy of 9/11.
On his Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai, Volume 3, Kitaro garnered a Grammy nomination in the New Age category, Kitaro’s 13th Grammy nomination to date. This album, was the third in a series of a collection of works and peace-themed albums (Vol. 1 released in 2003; Vol. 2 in 2005) and like the others, is inspired by the classic Buddhist pilgrimage to the 88 sacred temples on Japan’s remote Shikoku Island. A journey taken by the beloved Buddhist monk Ku-kai over a millennium ago, through the music contained in Sacred Journey of Ku-kai III, Kitaro continues to explore uncharted waters with his magnificently expansive vision and ever-questing spirit. He embarked on his Peace and Love World Tour in the fall of that year, a tour that took Kitaro to the four corners of the globe, shining the spotlight of his musical message on audiences as he inspires fans from around the globe to unite as one.
Grammy Award aficionados, Domo Records and especially Kitaro were excited about his Grammy nomination in the Best New Age Album category for Sacred Journey of Ku-kai, Volume 2 which also garnered a nomination in category 44 for the 48th Annual Grammy Awards. It was Kitaro’s 12th Grammy nomination. With Sacred Journey Of Ku-kai Volume 2, the artist’s lifelong vision coalesced into an elegant and wondrously integrated master work. It offers a beautifully expressed and richly resonant experience through which to contemplate our changing world.
In 2000, Kitaro’s “Thinking Of You”, which online music bible allmusic.com calls “one of the most beautiful CDs of all time”, won a GRAMMY for Best New Age Album. Kitaro’s atmospheric, powerfully emotive, and multi-textured music truly defies the constraints of any genre, epitomizing what Domo Records founder Eiichi Naito identifies as the label’s guiding principle—“To provide a home for both the creators and aficionados of quality music beyond the borders of categorization.” Most fundamentally, at its heart, Kitaro’s music is always about sending a profound message of peace and spiritual development, both personally and globally.
For over a quarter century, Kitaro has been an internationally recognized icon and globally acclaimed composer and musician. Influenced early on by American rock and R&B, Kitaro began experimenting with synthesizers and a rainbow of unconventional sounds in the mid-’70s. His pioneering fusion of electronic artistry, traditional Japanese forms, and pop-inflected Western idioms created a lush, harmonic, and poetic sound that won the now legendary artist a huge international following. 1980’s Volume 1 in the revered Silk Road series is considered an all-time masterpiece, with subsequent volumes only adding to its luster. ’87’s GRAMMY-nominated The Light Of The Spirit, a collaboration with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, exceeded sales of two million in the U.S. alone, elevating Kitaro’s presence stateside to an unprecedented degree. 1992’s transcendent Dream, made with Yes’ Jon Anderson, was also a smash, and other highlights are too numerous to single out.
Through the course of his career, Kitaro has sold millions of albums, CD’s and DVD’s worldwide. Kitaro’s various sound collaborations and resonant, multi-textured compositions, with their crescendos of passion and oases of serenity, truly defy the constraints of any genre. His pioneering fusion of cultures, techniques and spheres of consciousness is truly his own. With Impressions of the West Lake, Kitaro continues to explore new, uncharted terrain with his magnificently expansive vision and ever-questing spirit.