_ Japanese-Canadian composer Kento Watanabe fuses the refined aesthetic of traditional Japanese music with the boldness of Western operatic music to create sensual soundscapes that envelop the listener in an ocean of intercultural narrative. Zhao Jiping, the composer of the score for "Confucius," describes Kento's music as “setting the example for what composers should do” and “clearly expressing the Japanese cultural voice."
Kento is the recipient of the American Composers Forum's Subito Grant and the "New Voices with Argento Ensemble" award. He has been awarded composer residencies with the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Atlantic Music Festival. Last summer, Kento was a selected participant in the First Beijing International Composition Workshop, where he gave eight presentations of his pieces to be critiqued by composers including Chen Yi, Guo Wenjing and Jia Guoping.
Watanabe’s "Traveler's Song," a piece imitating the sounds of spoken Chinese with string instruments, has been performed numerous times by the Momenta Quartet as part of their regular repertoire. He is pursuing his master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studies under composer Richard Danielpour. Kento is currently working on an opera focused on Japanese-American internment camps.
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