School of Music Hosts Guest Artist Shawn Head
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. –– The School of Music will host internationally performed composer and shakuhachi player Shawn Head for
a performance on Friday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Presser Hall’s Westbrook Auditorium.
The event is free and open to the public.
Head is a master performer on the shakuhachi, a bamboo flute which is one of Japan's
most valued and traditional instruments. In addition to performing, Head is a gifted
composer, using his talents to mix traditional Japanese music with Western compositional
The program for his Illinois Wesleyan performance will consist of two traditional
Japanese pieces, three of his original compositions and a set of improvisations. In
addition to shakuhachi, his compositions will feature piano and cello.
Four IWU musicians will perform with Head, including faculty pianists Coordinator
of Accompanying Eva Ferguson and Adjunct Instructor and Accompanist Nancy Pounds,
student cellist Kira Gurovich ’21, and Fern Rosetta Sherff Professor of Music David
Vayo on piano, keyboard harmonica and synthesizer. Head will also lead a discussion
for music students and faculty during his visit.
Head comes to IWU through a connection with Vayo, who composed a piece for Head on
shakuhachi and cello at the end of 2018. Vayo was one of several composers to respond
to an invitation Head sent asking if they’d be interested in writing compositions
“I've composed a number of pieces for traditional Chinese instruments, and last year
for the first time composed for a Japanese instrument, so given my interest in East
Asian instruments I was pleased when Shawn asked me to write something for him,” Vayo
For more information, please contact the School of Music at (309) 556-3061.
By Megan Baker ’21