Okeanos was brought together in 2001 with the aim of creating opportunities for young composers, reaching out to new audiences, initiating pioneering performance events, and collaborating with other art forms. The ensemble has been featured on Radio 3’s ‘Hear & Now’ and have had their recordings featured on Australian and UK radio. They have premiered over 100 works, including commissions from Robin Holloway, John Joubert, Howard Skempton, Judith Weir, Nicola Lefanu, Judith Bingham and many other composers of international standing. Okeanos have a close relationship with Dai Fujikura and have given numerous performances of his work.
Art Respirant is a chamber ensemble from Japan made up of young musicians. As well as performers, the group includes composers and invests a large proportion of its efforts in supporting and generating new music.
Born in Tokyo in 1955, Ken Takaseki graduated from Toho Gakuen High School and enrolled in the Toho Gakuen School of music. He won the Karajan Conducting Competition in 1977 while still at university. After graduating from university he studied at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Academy (Karajan Foundation) and worked as Karajan's assistant until 1985. He also studied under Hideo Saito, Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Seiji Ozawa, and Tadashi Mori, and received instruction from Lenard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Andre Previn and Igor Markevich.
He made his debut as a conductor in Europe with the Bergen Symphony Orchestra of Norway in 1981, won the Hans Swarowsky International Conducting Competition held in Vienna in 1984 and made his debut in Japan in the following year at the subscription concert of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ken Takaseki served as musical director and chief conductor of the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra from 1986 to 1990 and has been musical director of the Gumma Symphony Orchestra since 1993 and conductor of the Shin-Nihon Philharmonic Orchestra since 1994. Ken Takaseki is regarded as one of the most authoritative figures in Japan's conducting world after directing the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in 1986 and the NHK Symphony Orchestra in 1991.
Ken Takaseki is Resident Conductor of Sapporo Symphony Orchestra and Honorary Conductor of Gunma Symphony Orchestra. At the same time, he also dedicates himself to help young talents, working with various student orchestras. From 2009 he has been a Guest Professor of Tokyo University of the Arts in its Department of Conducting.
GUARDIAN/OBSERVER BEST CLASSICAL ALBUMS OF 2012
5:4 BEST ALBUMS OF 2012 (Top 40)
‘…the music of one of the most distinctive and thought-provoking younger composers’ Gramophone
‘Exceptionally striking pieces, combining mastery of texture and form with a marvellous sense of compositional pacing and gesture. Secret Forest is especially sublime’ ★★★★★ BBC Music Magazine
'Dai Fujikura ... has already swept up many prizes, and worked with Boulez and Dudamel. Europe, he says, thinks of him as a Japanese composer. The sensuous, watery influences of Takemitsu, writ large, are certainly audible. He considers himself British and says writing slow, meditative gong music is against his nature. This lively east-west tension is evident in the five works here. Secret Forest (2008) is a riot of imaginative bird and insect noise – a private utopia well worth exploring' Fiona Maddocks, The Observer
‘deeply hypnotic and at times gorgeous…’ 5:4
‘Fujikura’s engagement with lyricism that’s most interesting, side-stepping well-worn approaches from both East & West to create works of striking originality’ 5:4 blog
With thanks to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and to the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation for their generous support of this disc.
Okeanos, Eternal Escape and Rubi(co)n were recorded at Coombehurst Studio, University of Kingston, London on 15-16 January 2011.
DAI FUJIKURA Recording Producer
ANDREW POST Recording Engineer
Secret Forest was recorded live at Kioi Hall, Tokyo, Japan on 5 November 2008.
Phantom Pulse was recorded live at its premiere on 11 September 2006 by the Lucerne Percussion Group, conducted by Michel Cerutti, at KKL Lucerne, Lucerne Hall, Switzerland as part of LUCERNE FESTIVAL in Summer.
DAI FUJIKURA Digital Editing
DAVID LEFEBER Mastering
COLIN MATTHEWS Executive Producer for NMC
NATALIE BRAUNE Cover image
FRANCOIS HALL Graphic design
Dai Fujikura’s music is published by G. Ricordi & Co. (London) Ltd, part of the Universal Music Publishing Group.
(P) 2012 NMC Recordings Ltd
© 2012 NMC Recordings Ltd