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M I N O R U   M I K I
Mixes the old with the new
Here's an artist that brings the tradition of the old with a vision of the
future by bringing classical music of Asia with the European.



MINORU MIKI was born in Tokushima, Japan in 1930 and graduated from Tokyo National University of Music a composition major. He founded Pro Musica Nipponia in 1964 and served as Artistic Director for 20 years, leading the contemporary Japanese instrumental world and producing over 160 performances abroad in his efforts to internationalize traditional Japanese instruments. Among his acclaimed works are Paraphrase After Ancient Japanese Music, Tennyo, Convexity, Four Seasons, Hote, From the East, Concerto Requiem, Ki-no-Kane, and many others.

His phonograph album "The Music of Minoru Miki" took the Grand Prize in Japan's 1970 National Arts Festival. His next album "Minoru Miki- Keiko Nosaka/Music for 20-string koto" won the Prize of Excellence in 1979 Festival. He composed Kyu-no-Kyoku (Symphony for Two Worlds), commissioned by the Leipzig Gewandhous Orchestra for its bicentennial celebration and world premiered in 1981 conducted by Kurt Masur (American premiered by the New York Philharmonic in 1994). Thus completed Eurasian Trilogy (Jo-no-Kyoku, Ha-no-Kyoku, Kyu-no-Kyoku) which links Japanese instruments with a symphony orchestra. In 1993, when Orchestra Asia (ORA) was founded combining Japanese-Chinese-Korean instruments, he was installed as Artistic Director and composed a folk symphony Den Den Den , Loulan as a Dream and Pipa Concerto. Its Japanese instrumental section has started activities as the Japan Ensemble(ORA-J) in 1998.

In 1975, he wrote his first opera Shunkin-Sho and won the Giraud Opera Prize. Shunkin-Sho had many productions in Japan, and also performed successfully at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in 1990. In 1979, he wrote next opera An Actor's Revenge, which was commissioned by the English Music Theatre and world premiered in London('81=American, '84=Japanese, '87=German premiere). In 1985, Miki composed his third opera Joruri, commissioned and premiered by the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for their tenth anniversary season, thus completing an opera trilogy which treats as its theme Japan's Edo Period. Then, his following serious operas directed their themes toward Yui Ensemble ancient and medieval ages. 1991's fourth opera Wakahime and 1993's fifth opera Shizuka & Yoshitsune were composed as grand operas. Recent sixth opera The River Sumida / Kusabira was written as a twin chamber opera in 1995. In 1986, he founded Uta-Za, an opera theatre to create folk operas like 1990' government prized The Monkey Poet,Yomigaeru and Terute & Oguri.

In 1990, Miki founded Yui Ensemble with both instrumental and vocal soloists who esteem and play his works highly together. He is also pushing forward the project "Minoru Miki and Asian soloists" specially with Yang Jing, a gifted pipa player who is learning composition from him.

Miki's international repertory includes compositions for orchestra, including Symphony from Life, Marimba Concerto, Beijing Requiem, Z Concerto, Mai, ballet suite From the Land of light, as well as chamber works such as String Quartet, Piano Trio, Autumn Fantasy, many choral pieces like Requiem, Jodo, Kurudando, Taro, song collections like Noharauta, Flowers' Story. Specially, his percussion works like Time for Marimba and Marimba Spiritual became world repertories. He also wrote cinema scores like well-known L'empire de sons.

In 1996, Miki published a book "The Theory of Composing for Japanese Instruments". He awarded the Cultural Prize of Tokushima Prefecture in 1991 and an honorable Purple Ribbon Metal in 1994. His works ( Five Pieces for Shakuhachi Chikurai / Kifu Mitsuhashi, Miki: Selected Works Vol. 1 / Tamura, Pro Musica Nipponia and Miki: Selected Works Vol. 2 / Nosaka, Sakata, Tamura can be purchased online at Amazon.Com. In addition, his music score of the film In the Realm of the Senses can also be purchased online at Amazon.Com. Just click on the title that you're interested in.

MINORU MIKI serves as a Director of the Japan Federation of Composers. He is a visiting professor of the Shikoku University. He can be contacted at the following address: 1-11-6 Higashi Nogawa, Komae City / Tokyo 201-0002, Japan / TEL: 81-3-3489-1396 / FAX: 81-3-3489-9341 / m-miki@mtb.biglobe.ne.jp.

CHECK BELOW WHAT THE LA TIMES HAS TO SAY
ABOUT MR. MIKI ON FEBRUARY 14, 1999!

Newer Than the Sum of Its Parts
Pro Musica Nipponia returns to L.A. with modern works
using traditional Japanese instruments.

By JOHN HENKEN

For musicians who can harness the seemingly divergent energies of preservation and innovation, the crossroads where cultural traditions and personal inspiration meet has proved particularly fertile in the waning years of this century. Few composers have been more active in this area than Minoru Miki, who has written prolifically in every genre from film scores to opera, including a large body of original music for traditional Japanese instruments.

Both Japanese and European cultures are standing on the wall now," says Miki, 68. "They cannot continue to develop in their independent ways. I believe that a new culture must be created by the collision of different preceding cultures. So I have never refused either Japanese or European elements in my music, although I am always trying to establish my own identity."

Some of that identity will be established for local audiences when the 12-member Pro Musica Nipponia touring ensemble takes the stage tonight at Marsee Auditorium of El Camino College.Founded by Miki in 1964, Pro Musica Nipponia is a chamber orchestra of Japanese instruments, its kimono-clad musicians now conducted by Takuo Tamura.

The Japanese name that I gave the ensemble is Nihon Ongaku Shudan, which has a double meaning," Miki reports. "One meaning is a group of Japanese traditional instruments; the other is a music ensemble representing Japan. At the beginning, one of my teachers gave us the name Ensemble Nipponia for foreign use, but I didn't like that name. When my 'Symphony for Two Worlds' had its world premiere in Leipzig with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in 1981, Kurt Masur presented us as Pro Musica Nipponia, which we have kept."

To read the rest of the article, please click HERE.


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