Dai Fujikura: my letter to the world

, composer


[A MINABEL RELEASE] Dai Fujikura’s latest release documents his close relationship with two remarkable institutions, New York based new music ensemble ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), and the Nagoya Philharmonic in Japan, where Dai has been in a composer in residence role over recent years. Opening with Fujikura's new Flute Concerto for virtuoso and MacArthur genius winner Claire Chase, the program also includes Mina written for Chase and four of her ICE colleagues, a song cycle for baritone and orchestra featuring critically acclaimed British baritone Simon Bailey, and Fujikura's wonderful Banitza Groove for orchestra.


The Flute Concerto was co-commissioned by the Nagoya Philharmonic and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for virtuoso soloist Claire Chase, and Fujikura has fashioned two versions of the work, one for orchestra and one for ensemble. The piece takes advantage of Chase’s remarkable versatility, calling for the soloist to switch between four different flutes: C flute, piccolo, bass flute, and the rare novelty, contrabass flute. As is his characteristic, Fujikura flaunts expectations, writing material for the often shrill piccolo in the lowest register of the instrument, and featuring the idiosyncratic contrabass flute in the cadenza of the piece.

My Letter to the World was originally written as a baritone and piano piece, and this recording includes Fujikura’s orchestration of it. It consists of six separate songs, each with a different composing approach.

Mina, written for Chase and four of her ICE colleagues to perform the solo parts with the Nagoya Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony and Bamberg Symphony, was inspired by the birth of Fujikura’s daughter. He was fascinated by the ways that a newborn’s expression can change from extreme expressions of emotion so quickly.

Banitza Groove is a departure for Fujikura from his usual style. More cinematic and conventionally lyrical than much of his music, Fujikura was inspired by a Bulgarian dance rhythm. It is in the mold of an overture of sorts, a work orchestras can program for special occasions.

All tracks composed, edited, mixed and mastered by Dai Fujikura
Producer: Dai Fujikura                
Recorded by Mari Yamamoto at Studio Frohla

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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