Yuka Takechi has forged a unique career as a composer at the highest level. She has composed for orchestras, chamber ensembles and choirs with western musical instruments and has also been commissioned by first-class Japanese traditional music players. She works on creating new classical music for Japanese traditional music and its instruments. Her works incorporating Japanese traditional instruments have been performed by leading Japanese exponents such as Mayumi Miyata (sho), Sukeyasu Shiba (ryuteki), and Yoko Nishi (koto). Her works transform elements within genres of Japanese traditional music such as Shomyo and Gagaku, and are highly acclaimed on account of their refined and sonorous colour palette.
Her work has been performed throughout Europe, Japan, the USA and Russia, and on occasions such as the International Zagreb Music Biennale and the Tanglewood Music Festival of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Her compositions have been performed by leading orchestras such as the New Japan Philharmonic, and the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, and selected members of the London Sinfonietta, the Royal Scottish Orchestra. In 2012, Indra’s Net for Koto and Flute premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York. In 2016, her large-scale commissioned work for traditional instruments, A piece based on Shakespeare, premiered at the National Theatre in Tokyo.
In this talk, Takechi introduced her works by using video and audio materials and considered the potential of Japanese traditional music, its creativity and its future. Takechi was joined by award-winning violinist Midori Komachi, who performed a selection of Takechi’s original pieces for violin.
A video of Takechi’s talk and Komachi’s performance can be found here:
About the contributors
Yuka Takechi holds B.Mus and M.Mus first-class degrees in composition from the Tokyo University of Arts. She studied further at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Tanglewood Music Center, the Juilliard School and at IRCAM in Paris. In 2010, she received a PhD from the Royal Academy of Music. She has taught at Wakayama University (Research Associate Professor), the Royal Welsh College of Music&Drama, and the Tokyo University of Arts. She was an invited composer at Columbia University in 2013.
She has earned such prestigious awards in Japan as the Muramatsu Music Award, the Suntory Keizo Saji Award for her orchestral work Loin bien loin conducted by Kazushi Ono, the Japan Contemporary Art Encouragement Prize for the large scale work Saigyo Mandala for Gagaku and Shomyo commissioned by the International Kanagawa Arts Festival, and the Kanagawa Cultural Award for her commissioned orchestral work Eaux Lumieres Temps , which also received runner-up at the NHK Symphony Orchestra’s Otaka Prize in 2010.
Midori Komachi is a Japanese-born violinist who performs as a soloist and a chamber musician extensively throughout Europe and Japan. Midori studied in Basel, Switzerland at the age of 12 where she was accepted exceptionally as a “Young Talented Student” at the Basel Music Conservatoire. Subsequently she made her debut as a soloist with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. Since then she has appeared in many prestigious venues, including Tonhalle Zurich, Tokyo Opera City Hall, Muza Kawasaki (Japan), Philharmony Warsaw, Wigmore Hall, St. George’s Bristol, Rector’s Palace (Croatia). She completed her Master of Music degree with Distinction at the Royal Academy of Music in 2012.
Midori is a recipient of numerous prizes such as the Max Pirani Prize, Sir Arthur Bliss Prize, the Friends of RAM/Honorary Patrons’ Development Award and MBF Emerging Excellence Award. She has also been broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 ‘in Tune’ along with the release of her acclaimed debut CD ‘Colours of the Heart’ (2014). Since 2012, Midori has developed a cultural exchange project in UK and Japan, introducing works by composers from both countries.