Dai Fujikura: Mina

About

<MINABEL RELEASE> Dai Fujikura’s newest Minabel Records is named after his daughter Mina, who was born just before he began composing the title piece on the recording, written for five soloists from the International Contemporary Ensemble. Fujikura brings his sense of wonder at the birth of his child to his compositional process in several of these pieces, exploring previously unexamined territory while continuing to rely on his interest in natural phenomenon for inspiration.

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Dai Fujikura’s newest Minabel Records release is named after his daughter Mina, who was born just before he began composing the title piece on the recording, written for five soloists from the International Contemporary Ensemble. Fujikura brings his sense of wonder at the birth of his child to his compositional process in several of these pieces, exploring previously unexamined territory while continuing to rely on his interest in natural phenomenon for inspiration. 
“Mina” begins as if in the middle of the piece, and the quick character shifts in the music reflect the rapid change of mood one finds in a newborn’s behavior. Midway through the piece, a bass flute and prepared dulcimer duo evokes a dreamlike state, inspired by Fujikura observing his daughter sleeping and wondering what she might dream about at such an early age. “Prism Spectra” for viola and electronics is designed for the violist to control a virtual orchestra, though like a small child, this orchestra does not always obey, and occasionally has a mind of its own. The solo bassoon piece “Following”, a follow up to “Calling” also written for Rebekah Heller, is inspired by the image of viewing a river from above, constantly flowing forward despite vacillations in current and terrain. At the suggestion of the dedicatee Matthew Barley, “The Spirit of Beings” for cello and electronics is inspired by “pre-life”, or the period just before birth. The movements are meant to be re-ordered in different performances, giving the piece a modular structure that suggests many permutations and creates multiple transitions between reorganized movements. Not unlike “Prism Spectra”, where the viola generates material for a virtual orchestra, in the “Recorder Concerto” the real orchestra is meant to be an augmentation of the haunting articulations of the solo instrument. “Wondrous Steps” is also directly inspired by Fujikura’s daughter, as he observes her openness to risk in the process of learning to walk and exploring new activities. The music shifts character and expression quickly, as a child would, but also contains accelerating passages evoking the build up to a new triumph, and a dream sequence that miraculously produces a more skilled child than the one who fell asleep. Fujikura describes his daughter as a “risk management expert” in how she manages new experience; luckily we can enjoy her father’s observations from a safe distance and let Mina take the chances and explore.

Dai Fujikura

Although Dai Fujikura was born in Osaka, he has now spent more than 20 years in the UK where he studied composition with Edwin Roxburgh, Daryl Runswick and George Benjamin. During the last decade he has been the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Huddersfield Festival Young Composers Award and a Royal Philharmonic Society Award in UK, Internationaler Wiener Composition Prize, the Paul Hindemith Prize in Austria and Germany respectively and both the OTAKA and Akutagawa awards in 2009.

A quick glance at his list of commissions and performances reveals he is fast becoming a truly international composer. His music is not only performed in the country of his birth or his adopted home, but is now performed in venues as geographically diverse as Caracas and Oslo, Venice and Schleswig-Holstein, Lucerne and Paris.

In his native Japan he has been accorded the special honour of a portrait concert in Suntory Hall in October 2012. In London where he chooses to live with his wife and family, he has now received two BBC Proms commissions, his Double Bass Concerto was recently premiered by the London Sinfonietta and in 2013 the BBC Symphony Orchestra gave the UK premiere of 'Atom' as part of the Total Immersion: Sounds from Japan.

The French music world too has taken him to its hearts with numerous commissions, culminating in his first opera – an artistic collaboration with Saburo Teshigawara, which will be co-produced by Theatre des Champs Elysées, Lausanne and Lille. In Germany the European premiere of 'Tocar y Luchar', the world premiere of which was given in Venezuela by Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, was given at the Ultraschall Festival in Berlin. His next German commission is 'Grasping' for the Munich Chamber Orchestra which was premiered in Korea before being brought back to Munich. Switzerland has featured his music at the Lucerne Festival, Austria at the Salzburg Festival and Norway at the Punkt Festival and a commission in 2013 from the Oslo Sinfonietta.

Conductors with whom he has worked include Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, Jonathan Nott, Gustavo Dudamel, the newly-appointed conductor of the Suisse Romande, Kazuki Yamada and Alexander Liebreich. His compositions are increasingly the product of international co-commissions. In 2012/13 the Seattle and Bamberg Symphony will each give continental premieres of 'Mina' for wind a percussion soloists and orchestra and the Asian premiere will be given by Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2011/12 the Arditti Quartet performed 'flare’ in collaborating venues in London, Edinburgh and Tokyo. His opera, which is based on Stanislaw Lem’s novel, Solaris, will be co-produced in both France and Switzerland.

In 2012 NMC released "secret forest", the first disc devoted exclusively to his music, and in 2013 Commmons released "Mirrors", an album including four of his orchestral works. His chamber music album, "Flare" has been released on his own label, Minabel and another album of his works, performed by I.C.E., is due to be released on the KAIROS label in the autumn.

He has also collaborated in the experimental pop/jazz/improvisation world. A co-composition with Ryuichi Sakamoto was premiered in Hakuju Hall in Japan, collaborative works with David Sylvian are on Sylvian's "died in the wool" album and also Dai's co-compositions with Jan Bang and Sidsel Endresen feature on Jan Bang's album, released from Jazzland records.

Dai Fujikura is published by G Ricordi & Co, Berlin – part of Universal Music Publishing Classical.

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