Music From Japan
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Toshie Kakinuma

Toshie Kakinuma

Toshie Kakinuma is Professor of Music at Kyoto City University of Arts. She received her Ph.D. in music from University of California, San Diego in 1989 with her dissertation on the musical instruments of Harry Partch. Her research interests include American experimental music, 20th and 21st century music, folksong, and organology. She is the author of American Experimental Music as an Ethnic Music (Filmart, 2005). Her publications include “Composing for an Ancient Instrument That Has Lost Its ‘Tradition’: Lou Harrison’s Set for Four Haisho,” Perspectives of New Music, vol. 49, no. 2 (2011), “John Cage and spirituality: the concept of ‘Neti Neti’” in Spirituality and Art (BNP, 2016), and “Sneezing Toward the Sun: The Human Voice in the Concrete Music of Toru Takemitsu,” Contemporary Music Review (forthcoming). In recent years, she has conducted a series of oral history interviews with Fluxus artists such as Toshi Ichiyanagi, Mieko Shiomi, and Philip Corner among others ( ). As a member of The Archival Research Center, she has been active in the project “Notation for Sound and Body,” and worked for the restoration project for the Baschet brothers’ sound sculptures exhibited at the Osaka Expo in 1970.


Tokuhide Niimi
Photo by Atsushi Kondo

Tokuhide Niimi (featured and commissioned composer)

Born in Nagoya, Japan, Tokuhide Niimi is a composer who has written choral, orchestral, chamber, and solo works. He is influenced by romanticism, and his music reflects two worlds: a melodic world, which focuses on delicacy, elegance and sensuality; and a rhythmic world, which focuses on centrifugal energy. Recently, he is committed to unifying these two worlds.

Niimi’s orchestral works have been performed by the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Suisse Romande, Netherlands Radio, BBC Scottish Orchestra, Radio France, Berlin Philharmonic, Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra (or Nuremberg Philharmonic), and others. Niimi is particularly popular in the world of choral music, as his works are constantly performed throughout Japan.  He is the recipient of many honors, including the 18th Nakajima Kenzo Prize, the Bekku Prize, the Sagawa Yoshio Music Prize, and the 55th Otaka Prize. In addition to his extensive discography, Niimi has authored a number of books in Japanese.

Currently, Tokuhide Niimi is a professor at the graduate school of Toho Gakuen as well as a guest Professor at the Tokyo College of Music. Since the earthquake-tsunami disaster in March of 2011, he has produced a number of works in response to the catastrophe, all dated “A.E.” or “After the Earthquake.”

Makiko Nishikaze
Photo by Nikolaus Heyduck


Makiko Nishikaze (commissioned composer)

Makiko Nishikaze was born in 1968 in Wakayama, Japan. She studied composition at Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music in Japan, then at Mills College with Alvin Curran and at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin with Walter Zimmermann. She is based in Berlin.

Her works have been performed at numerous festivals and concert venues including MaerzMusik (Berlin); Donaueschinger Musiktage; Music We’d Like to Hear (London); Ulrichsberger Kaleidophone (Austria) and Seetaler Poesiesommer (Switzerland); Ostrava Days (Czech Republic).

She has been artist-in-residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude; Villa Aurora (Los Angeles); Deutsches Studienzentrum Venedig (Venice); NES (Iceland), AIR Krems (Austria), artbellwald (Switzerland) and in many other places. She has also has received various prizes and grants including the Advancement Award, Akademie der Künste (Berlin), Grant for Work and Research, Department for Cultural Affairs in Berlin and Grant for Composition, Department for Cultural Affairs, Berlin.

Makiko Nishikaze has for some time been concerned with music’s relationship to space and she has created various spatial music. She is also active as a sound performer. As a keyboard performer, she has composed many pieces for piano, harpsichord and clavichord which she performs herself.

As a teacher, she also gives seminars on experimental music both for musicians and also for non-musicians for whom she has initiated many creative projects.

Mayu Masuda

Mayu Masuda (commissioned composer)

Mayu Masuda was born in Tokyo in 1981, attending Kyoto City University of Arts, and Bremen University of Arts as an exchange student from KCUA. Masuda holds a masters and doctorate from KCUA, where her doctoral thesis centered on ancient Japanese songs of the 800’s, in particular composing methods for koto songs, interpreting scores for ancient songs and research on ancient scales and their origins.

Continuing to maintain her focus on the musicology of song and the relation between words and voice, Masada has created works that bring a new interpretation to Japanese traditional music and performing arts.

In December of 2017 she was one of the representatives from Kyoto invited to participate in the closing ceremonies of the Culture City of East Asia celebration, where she introduced traditional performing arts from Kyoto and premiered her work for stage actor and piano entitled “Monogataru Kino III —Kokuhaku” ( Narrating Function III—Confession).

Masuda received third prize in the 10th International Chamber Music Competition, the 23rd Gen’on New Composers Prize and second prize in the 15th and 18th Sogakudo Japan Song Competition, Composers’ Division, in addition to being chosen to participate in the composers’ division of the 78th All Japan Music Concours. Masuda also participated by invitation in the Syke, Germany “Klanginstallation,” an exhibition of installations using sound.

Recent works include a mono-opera “Hito de nashi no Koi” (An Inhuman Love) based on a story by mystery writer Edogawa Ranpo, composed for prepared piano, percussion, jiuta (chamber) shamisen, koto, and countertenor.

Ryuichi Sakamoto
Photo by Zakkubalan

Ryuichi Sakamoto

Ryuichi Sakamoto has a vast range of musical endeavors; from pioneering early electronic music in his first group, Yellow Magic Orchestra, to globally-inspired rock albums, classical compositions (including a massive opera), and over thirty film scores. His catalogue even includes video game soundtracks, and mobile ringtones. Almost as expansive is his array of prestigious awards; an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, a Grammy, the Order of the Cavaleiro Admissão from the government of Brazil, and in July 2009, he was named an Officier of the coveted Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the government of France.

Though born in Tokyo, Sakamoto has written music inspired by the traditions of Okinawa, Indonesia, and Brazil. He has collaborated with David Bowie, David Sylvian, dramatist Robert Wilson, author William S Burroughs, the Three Tenors’ Jose Carreras, and His Holiness The Dalai Lama, among many others. He also wrote music for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and the 400th anniversary of the city of Mannheim, Germany. Sakamoto has devoted much of his time to political concerns including environmentalism and denuclearization.

Recent releases includehis 16th solo album ’async’ (Milan Records) and  collaborations with leading electronic artists Alva Noto (‘Summvs’, raster-noton), Christian Fennesz, (‘Flumina’, Touch), and Christopher Willits (‘Ancient Future’, Ghostly International). Ryuchi Sakamoto: Coda (Directed by Stephen Schible), a documentary covering five years of his life was shown at the Venice Film Festival.

Noriko Koide

Noriko Koide

Composer Noriko KOIDE (b. 1982) obtained her master’s degree in composition from Tokyo College of Music (2008), Conservatorium van Amsterdam (2011) and Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag. Through innovative orchestration and extended techniques, her works can be characterized by textures, shapes and colors. She is interested in the methods of note decoration used in traditional Javanese Gamelan music. and studied Gamelan performance and its theory at the Institut Sen Indonesia Surakarta. She is currently a member of an avant-garde pop duo, Kishibojin Fumin Girls, and a multi-dimensional art group project that focuses on eroticism, Sukebeningen.

Her works have been performed by: the New Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra, Asko|Schönberg Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble, Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus, Vox humana, Ensemble Genesis, Hiroaki Ooi, Yasuji Ohagi, Kousei Murata, Sumire Yoshihara, Takefu International Music Festival, International Gaudeamus Music Week (Utrecht), Shanghai New Music Week, Music From Japan Festival (New York), Toonzetters (Amsterdam), TV programs for TV Asahi, and NHK Educational, and NHK-FM Gendai no Ongaku (Music of today).

Yoshihiko Shimizu

Yoshihiko Shimizu

Yoshi-hiko SHIMIZU is a Japanese composer, and associate professor at the Faculty of Education, Oita University. After graduating from Kyoto City University of Arts, he received a faculty award and a prize from the Kyoto Music Society. He completed his Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree at Kyoto City University of Arts Graduate School and also received training as an exchange student at Hochschule für Künste in Bremen, Germany. His collection of compositions titled Rokusouenyu, which was released by Studio N.A.T was selected as the “recommended” album by The Record Geijutsu magazine. Some of the albums to which he has contributed include Ensemble Lunettes’s album Eight Lenses and Remi Nagano’s first album, Fuefuki Onna.


Kayoko Nakagawa

Kayoko Nakagawa, koto, shamisen and wa-go-n

Kayoko Nakagawa (koto) graduated from Takasaki Art Junior College and later NHK Japanese Music Institute. As a solo performer, Nakagawa has toured throughout Asia, Moscow and New York. Nakagawa often performs contemporary music premieres and collaborates with western instruments, dance, opera and improvised music. She has performed in Mamoru Fujieda’s Monophony Concert series since 1997 and with Voices of the Spirits project since 2015. Nakagawa was one of the three featured artists in Japan Society’s sold out concert, Sounds to Summon the Japanese Gods, in November 2017.

Elizabeth Brown
Photo by Peter Schaaf

Elizabeth Brown, flute

Elizabeth Brown combines a successful composing career with an extremely diverse performing life, playing flute, shakuhachi, and theremin in a wide variety of musical circles. Her chamber music, shaped by this unique group of instruments and experiences, has been called luminous, dreamlike and hallucinatory.

A Juilliard graduate and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, Brown’s music has been heard in Japan, the Soviet Union, Colombia, Australia, South Africa and Vietnam as well as across the US and Europe. She has received grants, awards and commissions from Orpheus, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Newband, the Asian Cultural Council, Music from Japan, the Japan/US Friendship Commission, Meet the Composer, the Electronic Music Foundation, the Cary Trust, and NYFA. She is known both here and in Japan for her compositions combining western and traditional Japanese instruments. A solo CD, Elizabeth Brown: Mirage is available on New World Records.

Oren Fader, guitar
photo by Christian Miles

Oren Fader, guitar

Classical and electric guitarist Oren Fader has performed in Asia, Europe, and throughout the United States. Recent concerto performances include the Villa-Lobos Guitar Concerto with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” with the New Jersey Symphony, and David Del Puerto’s new concerto, “Zephyr”, with the New Paths in Music Ensemble.

In addition to performing as a soloist, Mr. Fader is much in demand as a New York City chamber musician. He has performed hundreds of concerts with a wide range of classical and new music groups, including the Met Chamber Ensemble (directed by James Levine), New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, Talea Ensemble, ICE, Mark Morris Dance Group, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Festival performances include Aspen, Tanglewood, Bach Oregon Festival, Istanbul Festival, Deer Valley Festival (Utah), Bard Music Festival, and Morelia, Mexico.

Mr. Fader is well known for his performances of contemporary music. He has premiered over 200 solo and chamber works with guitar, and can be heard on over 40 commercial recordings and films. His latest solo recordings include “Another’s Fandango”, featuring 500 years of guitar music, and “First Flight”, a disc of 10 premiere solos written for Mr. Fader by New York City composers.

Since 1994 Mr. Fader has been on the guitar and chamber music faculty of the Manhattan School of Music.

Marianne Gythfeldt
Photo by Matthew Dine

Marianne Gythfeldt, clarinet,  bass clarinet

Marianne Gythfeldt has distinguished herself in chamber music and contemporary music performance on the international stage.
She is equally at-home in traditional, contemporary and alternative genres as clarinetist of Zephyros Winds, Consortium Ardesia, Collide-O-scope, SEM Ensemble, and former member of the Naumburg award-winning group New Millennium Ensemble.
Marianne is especially recognized in the fields of electro acoustic music, contemporary chamber music and performance education.
She was recently appointed Assistant Professor of clarinet and woodwind coordinator at Brooklyn College Conservatory where she will continue her work as a leader in arts engagement, outreach and development. Ms. Gythfeldt spent eight years as clarinet and chamber music professor at the University of Delaware where she won the Delaware Division of the Arts established artist award. Ms. Gythfeldt has recorded with CBS Masterworks, CRI, Albany, Koch and Mode Records.

Aaron Wunsch

Aaron Wunsch, piano

Pianist Aaron Wunsch enjoys a multifaceted career as a performer, presenter, and educator.  He has performed on concert stages throughout the US, Europe and Asia, including in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Duke’s Hall in London, at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland and as soloist with symphonies in the US and China. Lauded for his “masterful” chamber music performances (Hartford Courant), he has appeared at the Norfolk, Bowdoin, Sarasota, Great Lakes and Yellow Barn chamber music festivals, collaborating in performance with cellist Lynn Harrell, clarinetists Charles Neidich and Anthony McGill, violinists Miranda Cuckson and Jennifer Koh, and the Miró and Parker Quartets, among others.  He has worked closely with many renowned composers, including Thomas Adès, Nico Muhly, and Kaija Saariaho and has performed new works by Saariaho and John Adams during Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music. He studied at Yale University (B.A., cum laude), the Mozarteum in Salzburg (Fulbright Fellowship) and at the Juilliard School (M.M. and D.M.A.). He was formerly Assistant Professor of Piano at William Paterson University and is currently a full-time faculty member at Juilliard, where he teaches piano literature, graduate studies, chamber music, music history, keyboard studies, and directs Juilliard PianoScope, the Piano Department’s performance series.

Keisuke Ikuma

Keisuke Ikuma, oboe

Keisuke Ikuma is a highly sought-after oboe and english horn player in the New York metropolitan area. He is currently a member of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and the Stamford Symphony. He also performs regularly with the New York Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and numerous Broadway shows such as “The King and I,” “Wicked,” and “Phantom of the Opera”.  Mr. Ikuma received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where he was a full-scholarship student of Joseph Robinson, former principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic. He also holds Bachelor of Laws degree from Keio Gijuku University in Tokyo, Japan.

Mr. Ikuma studied conducting with Constantine Kitsopoulos and David Gilbert, and made his Broadway conducting debut in the 2015 Tony Award-winning production “The King and I” at Lincoln Center Theater. In June of 2017 he conducted the Broadway Chamber Players in an acclaimed performance of the chamber ensemble version of Mahler Symphony No. 4 with soprano Amy Justman. He will serve as oboe/english horn player as well as assistant conductor in the upcoming broadway revival of “My Fair Lady” at Lincoln Center Theater in March of 2018.

Gina Cuffari

Gina Cuffari, bassoon

Bassoonist Gina Cuffari is a versatile musician who performs with many orchestras and chamber ensembles in the New York City area. Praised for her “sound that is by turns sensuous, lyric, and fast moving” (Palm Beach Daily News), she is thrilled to become the newest member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Gina is also a member of the Lincoln Center-based Riverside Symphony, and is a regular performer with the Westchester Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, and Iris Orchestra in Germantown, TN.  In addition, she has made several appearances with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, American Ballet Theater, Stamford Symphony and New Haven Symphony.  Broadway productions include Fiddler on the Roof and Sunset Boulevard.

As a chamber musician, Gina is a member of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, Sylvan Winds, and Quintet of the Americas. She has performed in NYC restaurants as part of the Tertulia ensemble, and has performed live music with silent films at Lincoln Center as part of the BQE Ensemble. She is a recent addition to the artist roster of the west coast-based Camerata Pacifica, a renown ensemble which performs throughout California.

Gina is also a champion of new music, and has performed with the Argento New Music Project, ACME, and has recorded the Schoenberg Wind Quintet and Stockhausen Zeitmasse for Albany Records with the Phoenix Ensemble. As a frequent collaborator with Alarm Will Sound, Gina has toured and performed with the group as bassoonist, contrabassoonist, pianist, and vocalist, and can be heard on their recent Splitting Adams album (music of John Adams).

Gina is a passionate educator, and is an Adjunct Professor of Bassoon at New York University and Western Connecticut State University.

Samuel Budish

Samuel Budish, percussion

Samuel Budish is a New York City-based percussionist who actively performs in a wide variety of musical traditions. He regularly performs with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He has also performed with Orpheus, the Sarasota Orchestra, and the New World Symphony. Samuel was a member of the onstage band for the Broadway productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III and has also performed on the Late  Show with Stephen Colbert.  Dedicated to the music of today, Samuel has premiered works by Hiroya Miura, Joseph Pereira, David Fulmer, and Tan Dun and is a founding member of Ensemble Échappé. He received his BM and MM from the Juilliard School.


Alan R. Kay



Alan R. Kay, clarinet

Alan R. Kay is Co-Principal Clarinetist and a former Artistic Director of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and serves as Principal Clarinet with New York’s Riverside Symphony and the Little Orchestra Society.  Mr. Kay’s honors include the C.D. Jackson Award at Tanglewood, a Presidential Scholars Teacher Recognition Award, Juilliard’s 1980 Competition, and the 1989 Young Concert Artists Award with the sextet Hexagon later featured in the prizewinning documentary film, “Debut.”  Mr. Kay is a founding member of Windscape and Hexagon; he appears regularly with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.  His summer festivals include the Yellow Barn and Skaneateles Festivals, and his innovative programming for the New York Chamber Ensemble is a feature of the Cape May Music Festival.  Mr. Kay taught at the Summer Music Academy in Leipzig, Germany in 2004 and teaches at the Manhattan School of Music, The Juilliard School and Stony Brook University.  He has served on the juries of the International Chamber Music Festival in Trapani, Italy, Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.   A virtuoso of wind repertoire, Mr. Kay has recorded with Hexagon, Windscape, the Sylvan Winds, Orpheus and numerous other ensembles. His arrangements for wind quintet are available at Trevco Music Publishingand International Opus.

Momenta Quartet
Photo by John Gurrin

Momenta Quartet

Emilie-Anne Gendron – violin
Alex Shiozaki – violin
Stephanie Griffin – viola
Michael Haas – cello

Momenta: the plural of momentum – four individuals in motion towards a common goal. This is the idea behind the Momenta Quartet, whose eclectic vision encompasses contemporary music of all aesthetic backgrounds alongside great music from the recent and distant past.  The New York City-based quartet has premiered over 100 works, collaborated with over 120 living composers and was praised by The New York Times for its “diligence, curiosity and excellence.” In the words of The New Yorker’s Alex Ross, “few American players assume Haydn’s idiom with such ease.”

The quartet came into being in November 2004, when composer Matthew Greenbaum invited violist Stephanie Griffin to perform Mario Davidovsky’s String Trio for events celebrating Judaism and Culture at New York’s Symphony Space and Temple University in Philadelphia. A residency through the composition department at Temple University ensued, and the rehearsals and performances were so satisfying that the players decided to form a quartet. Through this residency, Momenta gave two annual concerts highlighting the talents of Temple University student composers alongside 20th-century masterworks and works from the classical canon, and repeated the programs at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. From the outset, Momenta treated all music equally, devoting as much time, care and commitment to the student works as to the imposing musical monuments.

Word of Momenta’s passionate advocacy for emerging composers spread quickly. Composers started inviting Momenta for similar concerts and residencies at other academic institutions, among them Cornell, Columbia and Yeshiva Universities; the Boston and Cincinnati Conservatories; and the Eastman School of Music. In 2008 the quartet won its first major commission grant from the Koussevitzky Foundation for Malaysian composer Kee Yong Chong, and since received a second Koussevitzky grant for Bolivian composer Agustín Fernández. Deeply committed to the musical avant-garde of the developing world, Momenta has been an indispensable advocate for many international composers.  In addition to world premieres by Chong and Fernández, Momenta has premiered and championed the works of Tony Prabowo (Indonesia), Cergio Prudencio (Bolivia) and Hana Ajiashvili (Georgia). Upcoming adventures include a project to perform and record all thirteen string quartets by Mexican microtonal maverick Julián Carrillo (1875-1965) over the next three years.

Momenta has appeared at such prestigious venues as the Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery, Rubin Museum, Miller Theatre at Columbia University, and the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study and looks forward to high-profile concerts at Chamber Music Cincinnati, Washington University and at the internationally renowned Cervantino Festival in Mexico. Momenta gave its Mexican debut at the National University (UNAM) last June and has performed in the United Kingdom, Indonesia and Singapore. Momenta has recorded for Centaur Records, Furious Artisans, PARMA, New World Records, and Albany Records; and has been broadcast on WQXR, Q2 Music, Austria’s Oe1, and Vermont Public Radio. The quartet’s debut album, Similar Motion, is available on Albany Records.

Emilie-Anne Gendron
Photo by John Gurrin

Emilie-Anne Gendron, violin

Lauded by the New York Times as a “brilliant soloist” and by France’s ClassiqueInfo for her “excellent technical mastery” and “undeniable sensitivity”, Emilie-Anne Gendron enjoys an active freelance career based in New York. A deeply committed chamber musician, Ms. Gendron is a core member and frequent leader of the Sejong Soloists; a member of the Toomai String Quintet; and on the roster of the Marlboro Music Festival and the touring Musicians From Marlboro. Ms. Gendron is a past winner of the Stulberg String Competition and took 2nd Prize and the Audience Prize at the 2009 Sion-Valais International Violin Competition. She was trained at the Juilliard School where her teachers were Won-Bin Yim, Dorothy DeLay, David Chan, and Hyo Kang. She holds the Artist Diploma and Master of Music degree from Juilliard, as well as a B.A. in Classics from Columbia as a graduate of the Columbia-Juilliard joint-degree program.

Alex Shiozaki
Photo by John Gurrin

Alex Shiozaki, violin

Praised by The New York Times as “spellbinding,” violinist Alex Shiozaki is emerging as a strong advocate for the music of today. At home with music new and old, he has appeared as a soloist with orchestras including the Sendai Philharmonic, AXIOM Ensemble, and the Juilliard Orchestra. Other highlights include summer residencies at the Tanglewood Music Center as a New Fromm Player and a Japan tour with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. A member of the Momenta Quartet since 2016, he also regularly performs with Le Train Bleu, ACME, and Argento Ensemble. As part of the Shiozaki Duo with his wife and pianist Nana Shi, Alex has given recitals in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., and California. Holding a B.A. from Harvard College and an M.M. and D.M.A. from the Juilliard School, he counts among his teachers Ronald Copes and Joseph Lin of the Juilliard String Quartet, Lynn Chang, and Robin Sharp.

Stephanie Griffin
Photo by John Gurrin

Stephanie Griffin, viola

Described as “enthralling” by the Los Angeles Times, Stephanie Griffin is an innovative violist and composer with an eclectic musical vision. Born in Canada and based in New York City, her musical adventures have taken her to Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, England, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Mexico and Mongolia. She plays regularly as a soloist and with the Momenta Quartet, Continuum and the Argento Chamber Ensemble. As an improviser, she performs in numerous avant-jazz collectives and was a 2014 Fellow at Music Omi. She holds a doctorate from the Juilliard School, serves on the faculty of Brooklyn College, and has recorded for Tzadik, Innova and Albany Records. Stephanie Griffin is a 2016 fellow in Music from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Michael Haas
Photo by John Gurrin

Michael Haas, cello

Michael Haas is an accomplished and exciting young cellist, performing in New York City and around the world. In a recent performance his playing was noted as “refined and attractive” by the New York Times. Leading a varied musical life, Michael is equally at home performing chamber music and orchestral repertoire both old and new. He has recently appeared performing at Symphony Space, the New York Live Arts Theater, Le Poisson Rouge, as well as for Tertulia, a new series bringing chamber music to intimate settings around New York City. In addition to his work with Momenta, Michael has been a member of the New Haven Symphony since 2008. He regularly performs with the Princeton Symphony and in New York with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Michael holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School studying with David Soyer, Peter Wiley, Joel Krosnick, and Darrett Adkins. Also an active teacher, he received Suzuki teaching certification from New York’s School for Strings and has taught at the CUNY Bronx Community College.


C4, chorus

C4 is a unique, award winning chorus directed and operated collectively by its singing members, functioning not only as a presenting ensemble in its own right but also as an ongoing workshop and recital chorus for the emerging composers and conductors who form the core of the group.  It is the first organization of its kind and one of the few choral groups in the nation to focus exclusively on the music of our time, performing only music written in the last twenty-five years.

C4 exists to enrich artists and audiences alike through passionate advocacy of new choral works, performing, premiering and commissioning new choral works, and mentoring emerging singers, composers, and conductors of today’s choral music.

C4’s adventurous programming fills an important niche in the cultural life of New York, and the ensemble has proven its commitment to presenting high caliber music in a welcoming atmosphere.

Timothy Brown

Timothy Brown, C4 conductor

Originally from Michigan, conductor/composer/bass-baritone Timothy Brown completed his BA (Educ.) at the University of North Texas and has been a choral professional for more than 35 years, directing and singing with high school, community, and chamber choirs. As a composer, Tim has lived in two worlds: his musical Curious George toured nationally for ten seasons. His classical training was with Nils Vigeland in the MM composition program at the Manhattan School of Music. Tim has been commissioned for large and small scale liturgical works, and his chamber music has been performed and recorded here in New York. On April 22 of this year, his chamber music will be featured in a concert at The DiMenna Center.

Tim has been a member of and a leading conductor with The C4 Ensemble since 2008.

Yasuaki Itakura
Photo by Suntory Foundation for Arts



Yasuaki Itakura, conductor

Yasuaki Itakura is a conductor, clarinetist and composer. After graduating from Tokyo University of the Arts, he received a scholarship from the French Government to continue his studies of clarinet in France with Guy Deplus, and graduated from the Conservatiore Municipal de Paris and Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. It was the mentoring of the late Mme. Henriette Puig-Roget, however, that broadened his musical education to embrace the whole field of music beyond his instrument.

He appears regularly with Tokyo Sinfonietta at the Suntory Music Foundation’s Summer Festival, of which he is Director and at which he conducts. He has conducted and performed internationally in New York, Australia, and throughout Europe. His appearance with Tokyo Sinfonietta at the Festival Presences in Paris (2008) was received with particular acclaim.

Maestro Itakura has given over 100 world or Japanese premieres of contemporary works either as clarinet performer or conductor. Since his debut as a conductor, he has collaborated on new works with important composers of our time, including Collin Matthews, Thomas Ades, Mark-Anthony Turnage, George Benjamin, Tristan Murail, Vinko Globokar, Jean-Louis Agobet, and others. He is the conductor for the regular performances of the Orchestral Ensemble, Kanazawa. Itakura is presently a Guest Instructor at Tokyo University of the Arts.