London based composer Dai Fujikura launches his own imprint for recordings of his work, Minabel Records, with this first release, Flare. Featuring performances from such acclaimed ensembles as the Arditti Quartet, Vox Humana, and the Goldfield Ensemble, Flare showcases several of Fujikura's chamber works, five of which were recorded live. Many of Dai Fujikura's works evolve from his keen awareness of the sonic landscape of his environment, whether it be the natural or man-made world. Miranda Jackson writes in the liner notes, "Where Fujikura does stand comparison with the sensibilities of Takemitsu, elder statesman of Westernized Japanese composers, is in his ability to depict elements of the natural world through his musical language. However, I reiterate this is not programme music, or a faithful recreation of the energy and movement of the natural world. Rather Fujikura is able to take a visual image or flight sequence from nature and idealize it in musical form." Meanwhile, it should be noted that Fujikura bristles at the label Japanese composer, preferring to immerse himself in several aesthetic schools and borrow the best from them, without finding himself defined by any in particular. In this sense, Dai Fujikura is truly an international composer with a powerfully individual voice, both in his pragmatic approach to aesthetics and in his voracious interest in expanding his artistic palette.
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. 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 will give the UK premiere of ‘Atom’ as part of the Total Immersion: Sounds from Japan. In his native Japan he has been accorded the special honour of a portrait concert in Suntory Hall in October 2012.
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.
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 will be premiered in Korea before being brought back to Munich.
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. In 2012/13 the Seattle and Bamberg Symphony will each give continental premieres of ‘Mina’ for wind and percussion soloists and orchestra.
Dai Fujikura is published by G Ricordi & Co, Munich – part of the Universal Music Publishing Classical Group.
I don't need every Kronos performance to be one that shakes me to my essence, but I do always want them to be interesting. Kronos has been my gateway to discovering a lot of composers I never knew of before, so this one is worth checking out. Richard Weems