Dai Fujikura: Mina

About

Dai Fujikura’s newest recording 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.

Audio

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

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

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