1960s Gallery
Learning Japanese instruments, Hawaii 1962

Both Hovhaness and his fifth wife, pianist Elizabeth Whittington, studied Gagaku instruments under Rev. Masatoshi Shamoto during their six-month stay in Hawaii.  Hovhaness is holding a shō, a high-pitched harmonic wind instrument. From this device he derived his characteristic high-pitched harmonic clusters, particularly on winds and strings. His wife is holding a ryuteki, a Japanese Gagaku instrument whose name means "dragon flute".

Elizabeth performed several Hovhaness works in Hawaii, including the piano part in his 30-minute symphony-cum-concerto 'Arjuna'.

Photo by kind permission of Judy Shamoto (picture researcher: David Badagnani)