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Self-Portrait (2022)


for piano and calligraphy

Commissioned by 音と言葉の間/Oto-to-Kotoba-no-Aida (Japan)

ca. 7 min.​


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Program Note

Fascinated by the legendary creature known as "monkey", notorious for descending from the high mountains in the aims to disrupt our livelihoods, I found myself drawn into a quest to know more about these elusive beings. One day, I encountered an individual who perfectly embodied the traits of the "monkey" I had studied about. Convinced of its identity, I swiftly asked for cooperation from those around me to hunt it down. However, to our disappointment, it was later unveiled that the being was in fact not a "monkey", but a creature called "bear". Several years down the line, I fell victim to a case of mistaken identity when a stranger, misled by my abundant body hair, mistook me for a "monkey" and hunt me down.

On Composition

As the title "Self-Portrait" suggests, this piece serves as a reflection of my likeliness. The calligrapher writes the character for "猿" (saru - monkey) to mirror the artist's form, elongated and slender, commencing with "𠮷" (tsuchiyoshi) in the upper right corner. Incidentally, "𠮷" encompasses the connotation of being "morally superior."


At some point in our lives, we often perceive ourselves as morally superior to others. The internet landscape is a hotpot of faceless identities trying to one-up another. At times, we judge and condemn others for our own egos, and masquerade it as "discourse". Similarly, real-world factions engage in cyclical conflicts devoid of any essence. While I am not overly afraid of confrontation or necessary critique, witnessing individuals or crowds devoid of empathy, steadfast in their self-righteousness, evokes a sense of pessimism and disdain. However, there was a point in which I noticed that I too succumbed to positioning myself as morally superior to those placing oneself above someone.

Past Performances

July 26, 2022 (World Premiere)

​音と言葉の間 東京公演

[Video Archive]

MUSICASA, Tokyo, Japan

Takuya Niinomi (Pf.) and Taku Kosugi (Calligraphy)

August 6, 2023

​音と言葉の間 栃木公演

Tochigi Bunka Kaikan, Tochigi, Japan

Takuya Niinomi (Pf.) and Taku Kosugi (Calligraphy)

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