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

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.


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