20 April 2012
2:00 – 3:00pm, followed by a drinks reception to 4:00pm
Daiwa Foundation Japan House
Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996), undoubtedly one of the most representative Japanese composers of the 20th century, conceived a unique synthesis of Japanese and Western aesthetics and, to a large extent, defined the role of the cosmopolitan artist. Highly influenced by musical languages of the West, especially Debussy, he merged in his music the Japanese philosophy of selflessness. By exploring Western musical style and by searching for his true inner self, Takemitsu succeeded in achieving individuality and universality at the same time.
In this talk, Dr Ohtake will discuss Takemitsu’s life and works and will demonstrate with music his style and sources of inspirations.
Ultimately, Takemitsu’s art cannot be classified as solely Western or Japanese, but as a unique composite of many influences. Through his attainment of spirituality, Takemitsu conceived cosmopolitanism and the quality, which determines prominence in art by its ability to relate to human sensibility in any age and place.
Dr Noriko Ohtake
Dr Noriko Ohtake is a pianist, author and lecturer. Born in Japan, Dr Ohtake went to the United States at the age of 15 and studied the piano at the Juilliard School in New York. After graduating from Juilliard with a BM and an MM, she completed her doctoral studies at the University of Maryland. Her main teachers include Martin Canin and Thomas Schumacher. As the first prize winner of Enrico Fermi Foundation Competition, Dr Ohtake has also won the first prize at Brooklyn Arts and Culture Association Competition and the Homer Ulrich Award at the University of Maryland. She held recitals in Washington, DC sponsored by the World Bank and the IMF. After returning to Japan, she has performed in numerous recitals and chamber music concerts, specialising in contemporary Japanese composers. In 1996, she appeared on a BBC broadcast program commemorating the death of the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. In 1997, she made a concert tour in Chile for the centennial celebration of the relationship between Japan and Chile. Dr Ohtake’s musical publications include: Creative Sources for the Music of Toru Takemitsu (Scolar Press, London) and The Dictionary of Piano Composers and Their Compositions (Yamaha). She has translated into Japanese the Study Guide series (Zen-on) and J.S. Bach Well-Tempered Clavier (Ed. Mugellini) (Yamaha) among many others. She has also edited scores including Haydn Piano Sonatas and Schubert Drei Klavierstücke (Zen-on). Dr Ohtake currently holds positions as an associate professor of music at Sagami Women’s University and a lecturer at the Open University of Japan.