Hiro Takenouchi & Sinfonia Cymru
Japanese pianist Hiro Takenouchi will be joined by members of Sinfonia Cymru in an evening of piano sextets by Sterndale Bennett and Mendelssohn.
Hiro Takenouchi (piano)
Members of Sinfonia Cymru
Sterndale Bennett Sextet in F sharp minor Op. 8
Mendelssohn Sextet in D Op. 110
*Pre-concert recital with Ashok Klouda (cello) in the Main Hall, 5:30pm
Continuing the series he began in 2017, cellist Ashok Klouda explores the masterpieces which inspired him to take up the cello in the first place: J. S. Bach's Suites for Solo Cello and sets them alongside new works written for him by Natalie Klouda.
Heralded by The Times as “just the sort of champion the newest of new music needs”, while being praised as “impeccable in his pianism and unfailing in his idiomatic grasp” by Gramophone, Hiro Takenouchi’s curiosity and a natural penchant for integrity makes his playing and vast repertoire unique amongst his generation of pianists: his love for the music of classical masters – particularly Haydn, Beethoven and Chopin – sits side by side with his passion for the music of Medtner, lesser-known British composers such as Sterndale Bennett and Parry, and the contemporary repertoire.
As a soloist, Hiroaki Takenouchi has appeared on many concert platforms including the Wigmore Hall, Tokyo Opera City and the South Bank Centre. He has also performed at festivals in Bath, Cheltenham and Salzburg and given recitals in the UK, Japan, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy and Canada. His more unusual recent projects include: a recital for the Rarities of Piano Repertoire Festival in Husum (Germany), a BBC Four documentary The Prince and the Composer on the life and music of Parry alongside HRH The Prince of Wales and BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week for which Hiroaki recorded solo piano works by Sterndale Bennett (broadcast in April 2016). Hiroaki also recorded solo piano works by Alexander Campbell Mackenzie for Composer of the Week in February 2017.
Takenouchi’s discography includes Haydn: 4 Sonatas (Artalinna), Cosmos Haptic: Contemporary Piano Music from Japan (LORELT) as well as the world première recordings of works by James Dillon (NMC), Edwin Roxburgh (NMC) and Jeremy Dale Roberts (LORELT). 2012 saw two further releases: two piano arrangements of Delius’s orchestral works (SOMM with Simon Callaghan).
The Russian composer Georgy Catoire’s music is somewhat neglected today but Hiroaki Takenouchi is a passionate advocate of his Piano Concerto and recorded the work with Martin Yates and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Their recording was released in 2012 on Dutton Epoch along with Percy Sherwood’s Piano Concerto, in another world première recording, which garnered excellent reviews in the press. Towards the end of 2016 Takenouchi went on to give the modern-day première of the Piano Concerto with London Phoenix Orchestra, the first performance since its première in 1920 at The Proms.
May 2017 saw the release of Takenouchi’s Sterndale Bennett/Schumann CD on Artalinna which has since garnered unanimous international critical praise.
Since 2012 Takenouchi has been teaching piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Glasgow). He also returns every summer to give master classes at the Poros International Piano Academy (Greece) and Ingenium International Music Academy (UK).
Sinfonia Cymru is a young and innovative chamber orchestra from Wales. The orchestra is made up of professional musicians in the early stages of their careers and is the first and only orchestra of its kind to be revenue-funded by the Arts Council of Wales.
Founded in 1996 by Principal Conductor Gareth Jones and typified by excellence, flexibility and innovation, Sinfonia Cymru delivers a hugely diverse programme of activities each year. The orchestra has performed in major concert halls across the UK, including the Royal Albert Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Royal Festival Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall, and gives regular performances in Wales in key venues including the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Wales Millennium Centre, Theatr Clwyd, The Riverfront and The Hafren. In recent years, Sinfonia Cymru has performed with an enviable rostrum of guest artists including Bryn Terfel, Alina Ibragimova, Benjamin Grosvenor, Rachel Podger, Carlo Rizzi, Paul Watkins, Llyr Williams and Catrin Finch.
Sinfonia Cymru features at music festivals every year and in 2016 performed with Bryn Terfel and Joseph Calleja at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, as well as several concerts as part of Wales Millennium Centre’s Festival of Voice. The orchestra premiered the new work by Sir Karl Jenkins, Cantata Memoria, at Wales Millennium Centre in October 2016, alongside Bryn Terfel. In October 2015, Sinfonia Cymru performed at the Royal Albert Hall alongside Danielle DeNiese, Alison Balsom, Sting and Michael Sheen to celebrate Bryn Terfel’s 50th birthday. In 2014, the orchestra played a major role in its first international collaboration that brought together a number of European partners from Sweden, Italy and Estonia, and culminated in Small Nations:Big Sounds festival, delivered in partnership with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
The orchestra has recorded twice for Deutsche Grammophon: Blessing with Catrin Finch and Cantata Memoria by Sir Karl Jenkins, written to mark 50 years since the Aberfan disaster. Over the past 12 months Sinfonia Cymru has been broadcast on BBC One Wales and BBC Four, S4C, Sky Arts and Classic FM.
Sinfonia Cymru commissions new music with a particular focus on young composers. Recent commissions include Murmurations by Mark Boden, H20 by Gareth Moorcraft and Queen Concertante by Vlad Maistorovici. Sinfonia Cymru is also committed to performing new music. In 2016 the orchesta premiered Birdsong – Cân yr Adar, working with Gwilym Simcock and Kizzy Crawford on new music that fused jazz, classical and soul-folk. The project was a bilingual celebration of the natural world, inspired by the forests of Carngafallt in Powys, and also featured visual art projections by Ruby Fox.
Creative Learning and Health & Wellbeing projects are integral to the orchestra’s activities. In 2016, Sinfonia Cymru worked in partnership with composer Liz Lane, film company AOTV, Chepstow School and Thornwell Primary School on Boats, Tunnels and Bridges, a multimedia composition and performance project which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first Severn Bridge, the Brynglas Tunnel and the last Aust ferry crossing. In 2016 Sinfonia Cymru partnered with Mid Wales Music Trust on a project based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. School children from schools across Mid Wales worked with musicians to write music for a series of interactive performances. Futures projects include Sing-a-Story, a co-production with Mid Wales Music Trust, Wigmore Hall Learning and The Hafren, Newtown.
In 2013 Sinfonia Cymru established Curate, a collective of orchestral musicians, administrators and other young creatives who come together to express their artistic ideas and create their own projects. Since then, Curate has developed the flagship UnButtoned and Unease events in collaboration with BAFTA-Cymru winning musician Tom Raybould and Chapter Arts Centre, the orchestra’s classical pub gig ‘Quartet’ and the hugely successful The Freddie Mercury Project with Vlad Maistorovici.