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December 16, 2007

ICAP Launches Founder's Concert at UCLA, Southern California, USA

Herbie Hancock on piano and Wayne Shorter on soprano sax

Herbie Hancock on piano and Wayne Shorter on soprano sax

On December 16, 2007, the International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP) presented its first Annual Founder's Concert showcasing jazz legends and multiple Grammy award winners Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter and their friends at Royce Hall, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in southern California, USA.

Over 1,500 people enjoyed the show, which was dedicated to SGI President Daisaku Ikeda in celebration of his 80th birthday on January 2, 2008 and for his lifetime achievements. UCLA was chosen as the venue, where Mr. Ikeda gave his first overseas lecture in 1974.

Actor Ron Glass served as emcee, introducing Mr. Shorter and Mr. Hancock, who was recently nominated for three Grammys, including album of the year for River: The Joni Letters. The two were joined by Nathan East, an award-winning bass guitarist, and Vinnie Colaiuta, called the "most important drummer of our time" by Modern Drummer magazine.

Tom Carter receiving ICAP Founder's Award

Tom Carter receiving ICAP Founder's Award

Mr. Hancock introduced a new composition for piano he had worked on for several months and had just completed that morning to celebrate the 80th birthday of Mr. Ikeda, whom he said he considers his mentor in life. Listing some of Mr. Ikeda's accomplishments over the past 25 years, including authoring more than 200 books and receiving more than 225 academic honors from educational institutions around the world, Mr. Hancock remarked, "The warmth and joy of his humanity created the greatest impact on my life."

During the show, ICAP scholarships were presented to Nick Depinna, a UCLA graduate student, and Takaaki Nishimoto, a sophomore at Soka University of America. ICAP also presented the Founder's Award to Tom Carter, president of the Thelonious Monk Institute, for his contributions to the world of music, notably in fostering young musicians.

Mr. Carter remarked, "Be a part of your community and give back to it, because that's where peace begins."

Visitors to the

Visitors to the "Artists as Peacemakers" exhibition

Also on display at Royce Hall was "Artists as Peacemakers," an ICAP exhibition "dedicated to the many artists who are working to light the way to lasting peace."

Following a duet between Mr. Hancock and Mr. Shorter, UCLA's 30-member wind ensemble joined them on stage for several numbers that brought the audience to its feet. The audience also responded enthusiastically to Mr. Shorter's performance of his original symphonic piece, "Ode to Daisaku Ikeda--Prometheus Unbound," inspired by the bonds shared by the first three Soka Gakkai presidents--Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Josei Toda and Mr. Ikeda and their dedicated spirit to uphold justice and work for humanity's happiness.

In "Stitched Up," the final performance of the day, five jazz dancers, including founding ICAP member Joe Malone, performed a dynamic number.

ICAP was initiated by performing artists of SGI-USA and is a coalition of cosponsors in support of the United Nations International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). Based on its mission to provide peace education through the performing arts, ICAP confers an annual "Humanities in the Arts Peace Award," produces cultural exchange concerts and promotes peace education through music.

[Adapted from an article in the December 22, 2007, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan and an article in the January 8, 2008, issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photos by Kingmond Young]