Following the successes of previous years’ ‘Avex Recital Series’, Avex now launch their 2018 programme with a special Dai Fujikura Portrait concert featuring musicians from around the world, performing works for shamisen (a traditional Japanese instrument), toy piano, violin, saxophone, and a quintet comprising oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano. This evening of beautiful sound colours and contrasting sonority will also mark several UK premières as well as a world premiere of a piece for solo piano.
The incredible artists who will be performing at Wigmore are Mei Yi Foo (piano and toy piano), HONJOH Hidejiro (shamisen), Yu Kosuge (piano), Rie Koyama (bassoon), Masanori Oishi (saxophone), Enno Senft (double bass), Philippe Tondre (oboe), Bartosz Woroch (violin), Makoto Yoshida (clarinet) and Teunis van der Zwart (horn).
Dai Fujikura is acclaimed worldwide and has been awarded many important prizes throughout his career 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 that cross over into the contemporary world with strong connections to experimental, pop, jazz and improvisation.
Having received numerous international co-commissions, Dai Fujikura’s music has been performed in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. He recently held the composer-in-residence position at Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra. In the UK, 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. Recently, Dai has been named the artistic director of the Born Creative Festival in Tokyo Metropolitan Theater for 2017.
Hiroyuki Nakashima, President at Avex Classics International, comments, Avex Classics International is committed to nurturing the best young musical talent and giving them an international platform. From intimate recitals to huge multimedia presentations, we engage audiences of all ages and nationalities in the unique power that defines the best musical performances and artists. Our return to Wigmore Hall demonstrates the best of Japanese talent and we are delighted to be back at this renowned hall.
Dai Fujikura Portrait looks back across Fujikura’s whole career as far as some works from his time at college. He describes Frozen Heat for Solo Piano (1998) like meeting an old friend.
Neo for Solo Shamisen (2014) was Fujikura’s first composition for the shamisen. Until this point he had always associated Japanese instruments as the clichéd music heard in Japanese restaurants outside of Japan. When this work was commissioned he cast aside these preconceptions and carried out extensive research into the history of the instrument. His attraction to the shamisen was the concept of adding ‘noise’ to the sound, something unthinkable in western classical music; he treated this piece like a guitar solo in a rock concert.
While many of the works have been composed specifically for the artists who will perform them at Wigmore, every few years Fujikura composes for himself which allows him to go back to basics and experiment with new methods and systems. SekSek and Ayatori for Solo Piano (2011) is one such work. With works like this, Fujikura imposes strict limits on the piece. For instance, he might develop a rule where ‘no more than three notes can be played at the same time’, or ‘no pedal’, or ‘right hand and left hand always move together’.
Bringing together an incredible range of award-winning musicians from around the globe, Dai Fujikura Portrait offers an opportunity to celebrate the work and achievements of this incredible composer.
Dai Fujikura comments, I am delighted to have a portrait concert at the renowned Wigmore Hall with all-star musicians from all over the world. Many of the works have been specially written for these musicians, for both traditional Japanese and western instruments. I am curious to hear 20 years of my music played together at this concert which includes compositions dating back to 1998 as well as a world premiere. What a way to celebrate my 40th!
The second concert in Avex’s 2018 series will held on Saturday 2nd June. This Rachmaninov programme will be performed by Yuki Ito (cello) and Sofya Gulyak (piano)