"Weaving Japanese Sounds" - Music of Modern Japan
Japanese Contemporary Music Concert Series
June 3 and June 10, 2005
at the Yamaha concert salon at 689 5th Avenue (54th St.), New York, NY
with the support of Yamaha Artist Services and Jeffrey James Arts Consulting
About the Composers
(in program order)
Akemi Naito -
Born in Tokyo in 1956, Akemi Naito began studying piano at the age of five and composition at the age of fourteen. In 1978, she received B.A. in Music Composition from the University Division at the Toho Gakuen School of Music and graduate degree from the same university in 1980, and was a member of school's faculty from 1980 until 1991. She was awarded the Takei Prize in 1982 and a finalist of the Music Today Composition Award in 1982 and 1988. Following her earlier activity as a composer in Tokyo, a grant from the Asian Cultural Council allowed her to move to New York City in 1991 and continue her career in the United States.
Ms. Naito's works have been featured in music festivals around the world such as PASIC in Dallas, Gaudeamus Music Festival, Melbourne Festival, Musica Scienza Roma, Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, Japan Society Spring Festival, Music from Japan Festival, Foro Internacional de Musica Nueva in Mexico and Music Today International Festival in Tokyo. Her Marimba piece, which was written in 2000 for William Moersch has been performed in eight countries such as Uruguay, Argentina, Spain, USA, Belgium, Canada, Japan and Korea, and sixteen states in the US. The work was published by HoneyRock in January 2001.
The first recording devoted to her works, Strings and Time, was released by CRI in 1997. In addition, her compositions can be heard on Aki Takahashi's Hyper Beatles on EMI and Norio Sato's Ko-Tha on the ALM label.
Naito is a recipient of awards and grants from organization including the Chamber Music America, the New York Foundation for the Arts, consecutive ASCAP Standard Awards since 1998, Meet the Composer, the first Aaron Copland Award from the Copland House residence, and resident fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell Colony and Millay Colony for the Arts.
Most recently, she has been received a notice of residency at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Lake Como in Italy. The residency is scheduled fall in 2003.
Her new CD project has been selected for recording by Bridge Records. This CD will include four works that was composed between 1998 and 2002.
Joji Yuasa - Born in 1929 in Koriyama, Japan, Joji Yuasa is a self-taught composer. He first became interested in music in his boyhood. Yuasa made the acquaintance of Toru Takemitsu (composer), Kuniharu Akiyama (musicologist) and others while a pre-medical student at Keio University in Tokyo. He joined them in forming the `Jikken-kobo' (Experimental Workshop) in 1952, and turned to devote himself to music. Since then, Yuasa has been actively engaged in a wide range of musical composition, including orchestral, choral and chamber music, music for theatre, and intermedia, electronic and computer music. Yuasa has won numerous commissions for his works from such institutions as the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Saarland Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Canada Council, Suntory Music Foundation, IRCAM and National Endowment for the Arts of the U.S.A., etc.
Yuasa has received a number of scholarships at home and abroad: Japan Society Fellowship (1968-69), Composer in Residence at the Center for Music Experiment UCSD (1976), Berlin Artist Program by DAAD (1976-77), the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music in Sydney (1980), the University of Toronto (1981) and IRCAM (1987), etc.
As a guest composer and lecturer, Yuasa has contributed to the Festival of the Arts of This Century in Hawaii (1970), New Music Concerts in Toronto (1980), Asian Composers League in Hong Kong (1981), concert tour for Contemporary Music Network by British Arts Council (1981), Asia Pacific Festival in New Zealand (1984), Composers Workshop in Amsterdam (1984), Darmstadt Summer Course for Contemporary Music (1988), Lerchenborg Music Tage (1986, 1988), Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo (1990), and Music of Japan Today: Tradition and Innovation (Hamilton College, NY - 1992), etc.
From 1981 through 1994 Yuasa was actively engaged in music research and education at the University of California, San Diego (currently a professor emeritus). He has also been a guest professor at Tokyo College of Music since 1981 and a professor for the postgraduate course of the College of Arts at Nihon University since 1993.
Toshiya Sukegawa - Toshiya Sukegawa, born in 1930 in Sapporo, won the first prize of the Mainichi Music Competition while studying at Tokyo University of the Arts in the early l950s. After graduation, he has worked as a free-lance composer, winning a number of prizes at home and abroad. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Japanese Society for Contemporary Music and Editor of the monthly journal, World of Music. His l983 composition, "The Eternal Morning, l945. 8.6," commemorating the Hiroshima bombing, was recorded last year under the Vienna Modern Masters label. Since l987, Sukegawa has turned his attention to the research and production of what he calls, in English, "industrial music" or music that blends into the workplace.
Yoichi Togawa - Yoichi Togawa was born in 1959 in Kyoto JAPAN and Graduated from the Music Department at Kyoto City University of Fine Arts and Music. From 1983-92, he lectured at Kyoto City University of Fine Arts and Music.
In 1996, he has won the AOYAMA MUSIC AWARD in JAPAN. He is a member of the Japan Federation of Composers.
Yoichi Togawa has composed Orchestral Music, Chamber Music, Piano works, Opera, Songs,Choral works, and Music for Japanese traditional instruments. He received commissions from Chamber Music Concert Series of Prague Symphony Orchestra (Czech) and Orchestra Concert Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Pescare City (Italy). His works were performed in Japan (six exhibition of his works in Osaka, Kyoto, Kanagawa) and in various foreign cities such as New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Rome, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Amsterdam, Latin America, Africa, Asia and on the stages of such international music festivals as "Music of Asia"(Lincoln Center), Ibra - NYC Music Festival and "Music of Japan Today" (USA), Berlin Symphoniker Chamber Music Series (Germany), Kamerton Festival(Italy),Exhibition of Music of Japan(Canada), Latin America Music Festival(Brazil, Argentine), Kyoto International Music Festival and Kyoto Autumn Music Festival (Japan).
His works were frequently broadcast abroad on BBC (UK), WNYC, KBCS (USA), De Concertzender (Holland),NHK (Japan) and WPRB (USA) which aired special program "A Musical Portrait Of Japanese Composer Yoichi Togawa", including six works ("Sunlight shining through the leaves of trees - Prayer" for orchestra and others),and so on.
In 1996, a portrait compact disc "Kaze No Ha" was released by Vienna Modern Masters and other works were released from WERGO, Art Union, NRP. His many works were published by CHIOLA MUSIC PRESS (Pescare, Brussels, New York). He was a jury member of the Pescare International Composition Competition (Italy) in 1999.
Kohei Fujita - (b.1945) NO PHOTO AND BIO AVAILABLE
Shigenobu Nakamura - Nakamura composes various music ranging from contemporary music to music for television dramas and events. He has written more than 100 compositions in various genres, including 8 orchestral pieces and two symphonies.
Since the late 1980s, he has enthusiastically produced and presented Music Theater works using computers, and some of his Music Theater pieces using computers were accepted and presented at the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) in 1992, 1995, 1996, and 1997.
Recently he has also produced visual works, which were accepted and presented at International Award for Video Art (Germany) in 1995 and 1996, and "l'immagine leggera" Palermo International Videoart Film & Media Festival (Italy) in 1997.
In 1997 and 1998 he was artist-in-residence at the ZKM Institute for Music and Acoustics. He is presently professor (music and video) in the Department of Visual and Performance Arts at Kyoto University of Art and Design
Takashi Yoshimatsu -
Takashi Yoshimatsu was born in Tokyo in 1953, and studied at Keio University (Department of Technology). He taught himself composition, joining a jazz and rock group, although he has studied with Teizo Matsumura for a short while.
He argues "new lyricism" and objects to unmusical "modern music". He has published many works. He made his debut with "Threnody to Toki" in 1981. Since then, he presented 5 symphonies, 5 Concertos, and many orchestra pieces. Other works include many stage works, a series of chamber music related with birds, piano and guitar works, and some works for Japanese traditional instruments.
Many of his works are recorded on CD, including "The Age of Birds / Works by Takashi Yoshimatsu" (Camerata Tokyo). And since 1998, he is "composer-in-residence" of Chandos.
As well as composing, he does a lot of writing, including articles for publications such as music reviews and essays.
Michio Mamiya - Michio Mamiya was born in Japan. From 1948 to 1952, he studied composition with Professor Tomojiro Ikenouchi at the Tokyo Academy of Music (now the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music). He became interested in the music of his homeland shortly after graduating from the Tokyo Academy and since that time he has studied the traditional music of many Asian, African and Scandinavian countries. His interest in folk music is evident in the inimitable original style of his compositions. He has been the recipient of many prizes including the Mainishi Music Prize for Composition for chorus No. 1 (1958), the Mainichi Art Prize for Violin Concerto No. 1 (1960), the Otaka Prizes twice for Deux Tableaux pour Orchestre '65 (1965) and for Piano Concerto No. 2 (1970), and the Grand Prix of the Salzburg TV Opera Prize for Narukami (1974). Mamiya's works range from operas to choral, chamber and orchestral pieces. Some of his major works include the opera The Old Tale - Tarobei, The Slave Dealer, the theatrical piece, Dasuke no Kubi, Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, Piano Concertos Nos. 1-3 and String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2.
Shin-ichiro Ikebe -
Born in Mito, Japan, in 1943, Shin-ichiro Ikebe studied composition with Tomojiro Ikenouchi, Akio Yashiro and Akira Miyoshi. He graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music with a Masters degree in 1971. As one of Japan's busiest composers of our times, he has actively engaged in a wide range of compositional media, including symphonies, operas and theater pieces, as well as music for radio, television and movies.
He won the first prize for composition at the 35th Japan Music Competition in 1966. Since then he has received numerous awards including Salzburg TV Opera Festival Award for Death Goddess (1971), Italian Broadcasting Corporation(RAI) Prize and International Emmy Awards for Carmen(1989). One of his recent works, Les Bois Tristes for Orchestra, was awarded the 1999 Otaka Prize.
Also for film scores, he has received Mainichi Film Music Prize three times and the Japan Academy Music Award six times. His recent works include Dreams (Akira Kurosawa, 1989), Rhapsody in August(Akira Kurosawa, 1991) and The Eel (Shohei Imamura, 1997, Palme d'Or of Festival de Cannes). In addition to these activities, he has published some essays, and also serves as consultant for several concert halls.
He is currently the chairman of The Japan Federation of Composers and a professor at the Tokyo College of Music.
Toshio Hosokawa - Toshio Hosokawa was born in Hiroshima on 23 October 1955. He studied piano and composition in Tokyo and, in 1976, went to West Berlin to study composition with Isang Yun, piano with Rolf Kuhnert and music theory with Witold Szaloneck at the Hochschule der Kunste. From 1983 to 1986, he studied at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik in Freiburg with Klaus Huber and Brian Ferneyhough. He has received many awards and prizes, including the First Prize in the Valentino Bucchi Composition Competition in Rome (1980), the Irino Prize for Young Composers (1982), the First Prize in the Composition Competition on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester (1982), the Arion Music Prize (1984), the Composition Prize of the Young Generation in Europe (1985), the Kyoto Music Prize (1988), the Otaka Prize (for "Ferne-Landschaft") in 1989, the Energia Music Award (1995) and in 1998 the Rheingau Musikpreis as well as the Music Prize of the city of Duisburg. Since 1990, Hosokawa has served as lecturer at the Internationale Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik in Darmstadt every two years, and he was awarded the position of Composer-in-Residence at the Internationale Sommerakademie der Hochschule "Mozarteum" Salzburg in 1998. He has been invited to nearly all of the major contemporary festivals in Europe as a guest composer or lecturer. From 1989 to 1998 he served as Artistic Director for the annual Akiyoshidai International Contemporary Music Seminar and Festival. At the Munchner Biennale in 1998, his first opera "Vision of Lear", commissioned by the City of Munich for the festival, was premiered and highly acclaimed as "a work inspired by the encounter of East and West which has opened up a new musical world." His compositions include orchestral works and solo-concertos, chamber music, music for traditional Japanese Instruments and music for films. Hosokawa lives in Tokyo and Mainz.
Toshi Ichiyanagi - Born in 1933 in Kobe, Japan, Toshi Ichiyanagi studied composition with Kishio Hirao and John Cage, and piano with Chieko Hara, Barnhard Weiser and Beveridge Webster. After attending the Julliard School of Music and the New School for Social Research in New York between 1954-60, he returned to Japan in 1961, and introduced many new musical concepts, including Cage's idea of indeterminacy, exerting a strong influence on the direction of Japanese contemporary music.
As one of the leading composers in Japan, Ichiyanagi has composed in most genres of music: operas, orchestral, chamber and instrumental works. Among his major works are his Violin Concerto "Circulating Scenery" (1983), Piano Concerto No.2 "Winter Portrait" (1987) and Opera "Momo" (1995), based on a novel by Michael Ende. While composing these large-scale pieces, he also became known for his compositions using Japanese traditional instruments such as sho and gagaku ensemble. Many of them have been performed throughout the world, especially by the Tokyo International Music Ensemble - an organization where he serves as Artistic Director.
Ichiyanagi won the Elizabeth A. Coolidge Prize (1954) and the Serge Koussevitzky Prize (1956) during his studies in New York. He was also a member of Fluxus. Since his return to Japan, he has received numerous awards including the prestigious Nakajima Kenzo Award (1984), the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the French Government (1985) and Grand Prix of the Kyoto Music Award (1989). In 1990, he was awarded the Otaka Prize for the fourth time, for his unique symphony "Berlin Renshi".
His recent works include "Coexistence" for ondes martenot and orchestra (1996), Symphony No.5 "Time Perspective"(1997), "Coexistence" for orchestra (1997) and "Mirage" for shakuhachi and piano (1998).
Junko Mori (No photo available) - Born in Niigata Prefecture in 1948, Junko Mori attended the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, studying composition, musicology and solfege. Her composition teachers include Yujiro Ikeuchi, Akio Yashiro, and Teizo Matsumura.
Mori's compositions are regularly performed and broadcast in Japan and the USA. Characteristics of French impressionism evident in her songs and piano works reveal the influence of her composition teachers. Her lyrical, melodic writing displays linear clarity, and the texture frequently involves a melodic foreground with accompaniment. Although she often uses triadic harmonies, her harmonic vocabulary extends beyond referential tonality. Several works, including Autumn Mist and Imagery, have been recorded.
Moto Osada - Japanese composer Moto Osada's music has been described as "individual and original" by the German newspaper Frankfuter Rundschau and "fascinating" by the New York Concert Review. Remarkable for its unique blend of harmonic textures, Mr. Osada's music often draws on Japanese themes and traditional instruments to augment Western harmonies. He also frequently incorporates the latest in music technology ranging from electronic equipment to computer-generated sounds.
Mr. Osada has composed for a wide array of musical combinations ranging from works for full orchestra to chamber and solo works for cello, clarinet, guitar, piano, viola, and violin. He has written extensively for film and television, as well as for the theater and dance media. Increasingly in demand nationally and internationally, his works have been heard in such countries as the United States, Belgium, Germany, Israel, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and his native Japan.
During the 2004-2005 season, Mr. Osada's JoHaKyu for cello and piano will be presented as part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's distinguished Double Exposure series in New York. Later, in April 2005, his Take the Six for marimba and electronics will be featured on the Cutting Edge Concerts, also in New York.
Highlights of past seasons include three recent premieres: In August 2004 cellist Beata Söderberg performed Mr. Osada's Meditation for cello solo in Linköping, Sweden. In February 2004, the noted Katz-Shteinberg Duo premiered Kaguyama Dance for viola and piano at New York's Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall), and in September 2003, Take the Six for marimba and electronics was presented to great acclaim at Nagano's Raisin Hall in Japan.
Also notable was the April 2003 concert at New York's Klavierhaus devoted entirely to Mr. Osada's music and aptly entitled Introducing Moto Osada. The evening featured JoHaKyu for cello and piano, Mifune for viola solo, and Atomotium for piano. (Atomotium was subsequently given an encore in March 2004 as part of Klavierhaus's Sounds of Modern Japan series.) Mr. Osada's music has also been heard in a live radio broadcast of a Katz-Shteinberg Duo recital at the Jerusalem Music Centre in Israel in 2002; Shmuel Katz performed Mifune for viola solo.
Current projects include Four Nights of Dream, a chamber opera written expressly for Sweden's distinguished International Vadstena Academy and based on the classic novel "Ten Nights of Dream" by Japan's revered father of modern literature, Natsume Soseki. The opera is scheduled to be premiered in July 2007 at Sweden's Vadstena Castle with subsequent performances at Stockholm's Royal Opera House. Mr. Osada has also been commissioned by the prominent Scandinavian contemporary music ensemble the peŠrls before sw•ne experience to write a quartet for flute, violin, cello, and piano. Its premiere has been set for the 2005-2006 season in Japan.
A graduate of New York University he is a three-time winner of the school's Composition Award (1996, 1997, and 1998) and the Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Osada's recent honors include grants from the ASCAP and the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music. He was also recently selected as a recipient of the 2003 Jerome Composers Commissioning Program by the American Composers Forum. Mr. Osada currently resides in New York.
Teizo Matsumura -
Teizo Matsumura was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1929. He graduated from the Science Department of Dai-San Koto Gakko (former preparatory course of Kyoto University) in 1949. He took private lessons with Tsuneharu Takahashi and studied harmony with Toshio Nagahiro. In 1949 he moved to Tokyo where he continued his studies in harmony, counterpoint and composition with Tomojiro Ikenouchi and subsequently composition with Akira Ifukube. These two teachers exerted great influence on Matsumura's life and artistic development.
From 1950 to 1955 his life was in danger four times as a result of operations to overcome tuberculosis. While convalescing he began to make haiku poems and won the first 'Haiku Prize' before publishing a collection of his poems. At the same time he wrote the 'Introduction and Allegro Concertante' for orchestra which won the first prize in the NHK-Mainichi Music Competition 1955. Fired with this success, Matsumura embarked upon a career as a composer.
Matsumura is one of those composers who rebelled against dodecaphonism, then the leading musical ideology, preferring to write works with a greater attachment to life itself. He was much influenced by such European composers as Ravel and Stravinsky, but since writing 'Achime' the text of which was taken from the ancient Japanese 'Kagura' or the sacred Shinto music and dance, his interest turned towards finding his own style within the larger framework of the heritage of Asian culture. Combining this with the use of European musical instruments and forms, his music came to have his own style of originality and vigour.
Both 'Symphony' and 'Prelude pour orchestre' were composed with this new consciousness of beauty learned from the traditional music of India, Tibet, Bali and from photographs of the ruins of Angkor Wat and Angkor Tom etc. These orchestral works were received well by the public; the latter work won the 'Otaka Prize' and has been widely performed outside Japan as well..
Several years later Matsumura traveled to India and China. At the same time he came into greater contact with the traditional Japanese arts such as paintings and the theatre, the Noh plays in particular. All these experiences from the background to the creation of such important works as the two Piano Concertos, both of which won 'The Superior Arts Festival Prize" as well as the 'Fukuyama' , 'Otaka' and 'Suntory' prizes amongst others. The second Concerto in particular has been a success with audiences throughout the world.
In 1993, his fist opera 'Silence' (based on the novel 'Silence' by Shusaku Endo) was given the world premier. For this opera, he was awarded four prizes, 'the Mainichi Art Prize', the Mobil Music Prize, the Grand Prix of the Kyoto Music Award and the Tomin Bunka Eiyo-sho.
In addition to concert works Matsumura has written works for films and the theatre. He has been Professor of Composition at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music until his retirement. He is now a Professor Emeritus of the University.
Orphaned at an early age and suffering from a serious illness for a number of years, Matsumura has been deeply preoccupied by the question of life and death and a strong interest in metaphysical matters. The preoccupation has always been part of his spiritual make-up and is reflected in his music.