Dai Fujikura: Chance Monsoon

, composer

About

Dai Fujikura’s newest release on his Minabel imprint occupies a wide range of instrumentations, from solo works for guitar, Japanese shamisen, and piano to a work for voice and string quartet, a unique work for Taiko drumming ensemble, and two orchestral pieces.

Audio

Dai Fujikura’s newest release on his Minabel imprint occupies a wide range of instrumentations, from solo works for guitar, Japanese shamisen, and piano to a work for voice and string quartet, a unique work for Taiko drumming ensemble, and two orchestral pieces. Chance Monsoon, written for Soichi Muraji, explores various different ways of arpeggiating and extending the sustain of the fast decay of the guitar, an instrument Fujikura compares to a small piece of jewelry. Uto was written as the result of a commission by a Taiko percussion ensemble in the Uto region of Japan. The work was as inspired by the practice of using Taiko drum music to pray for rain in the regional culture as it was by the material of the Taiko tradition itself. The three solo piano pieces are the byproduct of a compositional habit of Fujikura’s — to go back to the keyboard and constrain himself to exploration of some musical parameter within the context of a small work. Later, the solutions he arrives at often manifest themselves in his larger scale works. Neo was written for the Japanese plucked string instrument, the shamisen. Fujikura found he held a caricature view of the instrument shaped by television and film portrayals of shamisen performers, before he began to work on the piece. Unlike Uto, the process of composing the work drew him away from the cultural connotations and inside the mechanics and technical layout of the instrument. Rare Gravity for orchestra expresses the weightlessness and protective sphere of being inside a mother’s womb. The work is developmental, as is a fetus, and Fujikura endeavors to find a meditative space for the music despite fluctuations in tempo. Silence Seeking Solace is a collaboration with poet Harry Ross, and inspired by sculptures in Salzburg. Scored for soprano and string quartet, the work marries techniques in the vocal part with the timbre of the strings. Fujikura’s Cello Concerto closes the recording, with a performance by the International Contemporary Ensemble and Katinka Kleijn as soloist. The material of the work was drawn from a solo cello work, osm, and Fujikura’s challenge in composing the concerto was to determine how to enhance the aura of the soloist’s part in the ensemble without overshadowing it.

All works published by Ricordi International

Engineer: Ryan Streber (Track 2,4,5,6,8) Soichi Muraji (Track 1), Yoshitaka Miyahara (Track 3), Mari Yamamoto (Track 7), Ross Karre (Track 9)

Recording locations: Oktaven Audio, Mount Vernon, NY (Tracks 2, 4,5,6,8), Gotanda Bunka Centre (Track 1), Uto City Hall (Track 3), Aichi Arts Center (Track 7), Merkin Concert Hall (Track 9)

Producer: Dai Fujikura (Tracks 1, 3, 6-9), Jacob Greenberg (Tracks 2, 4, 5)

Dai Fujikura

Dai Fujikura was born in 1977 in Osaka, Japan. He was fifteen when he moved to UK to complete his secondary education. His studies continued in college, where, during his sophomore year, he won the Serocki International Composers Competition. Since then, he has been awarded many other important prices including the Royal Philharmonic Society Award, Otaka Prize, Akutagawa Composition Award, WIRED Audi Innovation Award, the Paul Hindemith Prize, and The Silver Lion Award from Venice Biennale 2017. His works include operas, orchestral pieces, ensemble works, chamber music, and film scores.

Having received numerous international co-commissions, Dai Fujikura’s music has been performed in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. He recently held the composer-in-residence position at Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra. He has received two BBC Proms commissions, his “Double Bass Concerto” was premiered by the London Sinfonietta, and in 2013 the BBC Symphony Orchestra gave the UK premiere of his "Atom". Suntory Hall hosted a portrait concert of his orchestral music in 2012. Fujikura’s "Tocar y Luchar" was premiered under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra in Venezuela in 2011.

Fujikura has also received performances and commissions from Bamberg Symphony, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Philharmonia Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, among many others. He has collaborated with Ensemble Modern, Arditti Quartet, Ensemble Intercontemporain, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Oslo Sinfonietta, Asko Ensemble, Klangforum Wien, and Bit20 Ensemble. Ultraschall Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Salzburg Festival, Punkt Festival, Spoleto Festival, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and Tanglewood Festival have all programmed his music, and his works have been conducted by many conductors including Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, Jonathan Nott, Kazuki Yamada, Martyn Brabbins, Peter Rundel, and Alexander Liebreich.

Dai Fujikura’s first opera Solaris, a co-commission by Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Opéra de Lille, Opéra de Lausanne, Ircam-Centre Pompidou, and Ensemble Intercontemporain, had its world premiere in Paris 2015. The multimedia production which included dance, electronics, and 3D film was directed by Saburo Teshigawara who also wrote the libretto. The opera is based Stanisław Lem’s famous science fiction novel of the same name. Theatre Augusburg will present a new production of Solaris for the German premiere in May 2018.

Fujikura’s debut solo album, Secret Forest was produced by NMC Recordings in 2012. Since then, he’s had numerous albums produced including Mirrors which features four of his orchestral works, Ice, on the Kairos label, and most recently, my letter to the world, named for his song cycle, which he produced on his own label, Minabel in collaboration with SONY Japan. For a complete list of his recordings, visit http://www.daifujikura.com/un/discography.html.

Fujikura also has strong connections to the experimental pop/jazz/improvisation world. His co-composition with Ryuichi Sakamoto, peripheral movement for electronics, premiered in Hakuju Hall in Japan in 2013, and his collaborative works with David Sylvian were recorded for Sylvian's album Died in the Wool. Jan Bang released an album on Jazzland records, which featured Fujikura’s collaborations with Jan Bang and Sidsel Endresen.

Recently, Dai has been named the artistic director of the Born Creative Festival in Tokyo Metropolitan Theater for 2017. He will take the positions of composer-in-residence at the Orchestre national d'Île-de-France, and artist-in-residence at The Philharmonic Chorus of Tokyo beginning in 2017. He is currently​ preparing for his second opera, The Gold-Bug, which will premiere in March 2018 in Basel. His orchestra work, Glorious Clouds which was co-commissioned by Nagoya Philharmonic, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, and Orchestre national d'Île-de-France, will be premiered in Japan in 2017, followed performances France and Germany.

Dai Fujikura is published by Ricordi Berlin.

http://www.daifujikura.com

Soichi Muraji

Soichi Muraji was born in 1982 and started to play the guitar at the age of three. His teachers in Japan include Shinichi Fukuda and Daisuke Suzuki. In 1999, he came to Boston and began studying the guitar with David Leisner and Eliot Fist at New England Conservatory. In 2004, Soichi released his second album, "Fuoco,” including his most famed songs. The following year, he released his 3rd album, "New Sketch." In June 2006, his fourth album, “America” was released, and in May 2008, his fifth album "Dreams" was released. In 2007, Sochi released “Danza Brasilera,” used on in-flight audio programs on airlines such as All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL). That summer, he played “Concierto de Aranjuez” with New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra (Conductor: Arumink) and Tokyo Symphony Orchestra (Conductor: Shunsuke Hori).

Jacob Greenberg

Pianist JACOB GREENBERG's work as a soloist and chamber musician has earned worldwide acclaim. As a longtime member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), he has performed throughout North and South Americas and Europe. His solo concert series, Music at Close Range, shows his equal commitment to classics of the repertoire.

A leading pianist of modern song, he has toured extensively with soprano Tony Arnold. Other ensemble performances include MusicNOW, with members of the Chicago Symphony, and Contempo at the University of Chicago. As an orchestral player, he has also appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, and Australian Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Greenberg has recorded for the Bridge, Naxos, Mode, Kairos, Centaur, Tzadik, and New Amsterdam labels, and live performances have been heard on WQXR New York, BBC Radio 3, WFMT Chicago and Radio Netherlands. Other CDs include solo and chamber music of George Crumb with ICE (Bridge 9261) and a disc pairing Schumann and Ferruccio Busoni. Mr. Greenberg is also a record producer, and has completed discs for major domestic and international labels.

Recent highlights include a guest performance of works of György Kurtág at the International Summer Courses in Darmstadt, Germany, under the composer's guidance; a recital tour with flutist Claire Chase; Messiaen's Harawi at the Library of Congress; and Harrison Birtwistle's Slow Frieze with conductor Ludovic Morlot at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival. www.jacobgreenberg.net.

Honjoh Hidejiro

Hidejiro Honjo is an award-winning shamisen performer. Honjo studied under Hidetaro Honjoh and graduated from the Japanese Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music, where he currently teaches. He has been commissioned by many composers and holds a solo recital four times a year. Honjo primarily specializes in modern music and performs with the international contemporary ensemble groups and orchestras. This year he received the furtherance of the Asian Cultural Council as a grantee.

Alice Teyssier

“An arresting soprano, in all senses” (LA Times), Alice Teyssier has appeared as a soloist with the San Diego Symphony, International Contemporary Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, the San Francisco New Music Players, Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, and the Bach Collegium San Diego (amongst others). She is a regular guest to the Monday Evening Concerts series, where she has premiered numerous works - from Salvatore Sciarrino to Cassandra Miller. In 2008, Alice was “haunting” in the United States premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s opera 'Lost Highway', after the David Lynch film, at Columbia University’s Miller Theater; she has since presented many modern operas by Viktor Ullman, Anthony Davis and Esteban Insinger, amongst others.

The Rhythm Method

Praised for their “uncompromising and unreserved . . . intense, and sensuously gestural” performances (examiner.com), The Rhythm Method strives to reimagine the string quartet in a contemporary context. Since their founding in 2014, the group has given soulful, spirited performances in New York, Vienna, Paris, and Lucerne, and tackled works ranging from classics by Ligeti and Webern to newer works/premieres by Tonia Ko, Dai Fujikura, Andrew Norman, John Zorn, and other living composers, including members of the ensemble. Through a mixture of thoughtful programming, captivating performances, and collaborations with sound artists, visual artists, and songwriters as well as composers, they present concert experiences that engage and challenge their audiences.

International Contemporary Ensemble

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) is an artist collective committed to reshaping the way music is created and experienced. As performer, alchemist, curator and educator, ICE explores how new music intersects with communities across the world. From youth in schools to audiences in established and alternative venues, ICE engages its listening public in the spark of musical invention. ICE’s thirty-­five musicians are empowered through curated concerts that promote their virtuosity, versatility and expressive range. The members of ICE are featured as soloists, chamber musicians, commissioners and collaborators with the foremost musical artists of our time. Emerging composers have anchored ICE’s programming since its founding in 2001. ICE’s recordings and digital platforms highlight the many voices that weave music’s present. Founded by flutist and MacArthur Fellow Claire Chase, ICE has received American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and ASCAP/Chamber Music America’s Award for Adventurous Programming, and was also named Musical America’s 2013 Ensemble of the Year. The group currently serves as ensemble­in­residence at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Mostly Mozart Festival, and previously led a five­year residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. ICE has been featured at the Ojai Music Festival since 2015, and at festivals abroad such as Acht Brücken Cologne and Musica Nova Helsinki. Other recent performance stages include the Park Avenue Armory, Nagoya Symphony Hall, ice floes during Greenland’s Diskotek Sessions, and boats on the Amazon River. From 2011 to 2014, the ICElab program created dozens of new works that grew from close performer/composer collaborations. OpenICE, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, today brings the full scope of ICE’s programming and commissioning to broader audiences around the world in free concerts and online. In 2015, the EntICE education project was launched, uniting leading composers with youth ensembles in new works developed and performed side-­by-­side with ICE. Inaugural EntICE partners include The People’s Music School Youth Orchestra (Chicago) and Youth Orchestra L.A. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for ICE. Read more at iceorg.org.

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