Hikari Oe is a contemporary Japanese composer, known for his charming short pieces for piano, flute, and violin. He was born with autism. It was the songs of birds that awakened him to the larger world and led to his development as a musician. Narrated by two young performers, Birdsong tells the story of Hikari Oe’s spiritual and professional triumph. (Produced by Sam Goodyear)
Classroom Discussion Prompts (Post-Listen)
~Where was Hikari Oe born?
~What did doctors tell Hikari’s parents? What did they do?
~Which sound interested Hikari and what did his parents buy for him to encourage this interest?
~Where did the Oe go on vacation? Describe what they would do together while there.
~Share another way his parents supported Hikari’s interest in sound.
~How many copies of Oe’s music sold after it first released?
~Which instruments do you hear playing in Hikari’s pieces?
~What is special about Hikari Oe? After hearing his story and listening to Oe’s music, what do you wonder? What would you ask Hikari?
~The Music of Light: The Extraordinary Story of Hikari and Kenzaburo Oe by Lindsley Cameron
~A Healing Family by Kenzaburo Oe
Thank you to segment voice talent Ajay Datta and Madelyn Durham.