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This profile was last updated on 11/1/03  and contains information from public web pages.
 
Background

Employment History

64 Total References
Web References
Takahashi Essay
www.thomasschultzpianist.com, 1 Nov 2003 [cached]
Yuji Takahashi - A Biographical Sketch
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A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH AND APPRECIATION OF YUJI TAKAHASHI
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Sponsored by the Ford Foundation, Takahashi lived in Berlin from 1963 to 1965, where he studied with Iannis Xenakis (his 1997 essay "Xenakis in Kyoto", thoughts on Xenakis' music, ideas and teaching, can be found on his website http://www.suigyu.com/yuji/). In 1966, supported by a grant from the J. D. Rockefeller III. Fund, he came to New York to compose music using computers, and was subsequently a highly visible and influential participant in new music activities in the U. S., with appearances at the Berkshire Music Center, the Ravinia Music Festival, the Stratford (Ontario) Festival and The Center for the Creative and Performing Arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo. During this time, he was a soloist with such ensembles as the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony and the Buffalo Philharmonic. He gave solo recitals at the Athens Festival, the Stockholm Festival, the Oxford Bach Festival, the Domaine Musical in Paris, the Signaal series in Amsterdam, the Twice Series in Los Angeles, the Princeton Chamber Concerts and the Evenings for New Music and New Images of Sound in New York. In 1966 and 1968 he performed and spoke at the UNESCO International Music Council Congresses in Manila and New York and wrote a work performed at the Japanese Music Pavilion at the 1970 Osaka World's Fair.
Takahashi remained in the U. S. until 1972, teaching piano at Indiana University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In 1971, during his residence in San Francisco, he performed 3 of his own electronic works (Time, Yeguen, and Bridges) at one of the first informal concerts (called "Bring Your Own Pillow" at the Hansen Fuller Gallery on Grant Avenue) of what was to become the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.
For many years, Takahashi was known, along with only a few other pianists - Tudor, Kontarsky, Helffer, Woodward, Jacobs, Rzewski - as someone able to decipher and play the most difficult new works for piano.
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Xenakis wrote both Herma and Eonta for Takahashi. Takahashi premiered Herma in Tokyo in February of 1962 and Eonta in December, 1964 in Paris, with Boulez conducting.
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In the course of that 1961 visit to Japan, I made the aquaintance of Yuji Takahashi, the brilliant pianist, who must have been around twenty then. His recitals consisted mostly of the works of contemporary composers. A few months later I received a letter from him: he was very poor, he wrote, but he wanted to commission a piano piece from me. I was moved by that gesture.
He only paid half what he had promised and he still owes me the rest. But he had no money and I liked him, his playing and his mind.
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I became worried and wrote to Yuji to ask his opinion. Is it really impossible to play? He replied that Herma was very difficult but not impossible. A few months later he could play it by memory.
Takahashi also gave the premieres of a number of works by Toru Takemitsu - Piano Distance (1961), Corona (1962), Arc (1963), and Asterism (1969) and has written about his relationship with Takemitsu in the 1996 essay "The Life of the Composer" (published on his website).
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Among the recordings I find in my library at home that Takahashi has made as a pianist, are the complete works of Schoenberg, Webern and Berg, music by Messiaen (solo pieces, also Visions de la Amen with Peter Serkin), Xenakis, Cage, Rzewski, Na, Cardew, Takemitsu, the Indonesian composer Selamat A. Sjukur, Earle Brown, and Roger Reynolds, also Bach's Art of the Fugue and the E minor Toccata, two volumes of Satie's solo piano music, a Sonata of W. F. Bach and Marche et Reminiscences pour mon dernier voyage of Rossini.
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What I especially admire about Takahashi as a pianist: the breadth of his learning and performing, the cat-like agility and physical animation of his playing, the way his playing is infused with a natural rubato and constant inflection - in a way, the opposite of a pianist like Glenn Gould - his ability to produce unexpected and unimagined sounds and, in particular, his attitude towards "the score", distilled over years of practical labor as a composer/pianist and a welcome antidote to the stifling view, held by many today, of the performer as one who, as accurately as possible, realizes the "intentions" of the composer.
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Upon his return to Japan in 1972, Takahashi was involved in organizing and performing with like-minded groups of musicians - the composers' group tranSonic (along with Takemitsu and Joji Yuasa), in the 1980s, the Suigyu (Water Buffalo) Band, writing and performing Asian protest songs and, in 1999, Ito.
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This is where I heard him give a "solo" recital which commenced with a performance by Mayumi Miyata and Ko Ishikawa of ancient music for the sho (a traditional Japanese mouth-organ), continued with Takahashi playing the first half of the Goldberg Variations, followed by one of Takahashi's own recent pieces for two shos and the concluding half of the Goldbergs.
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Takahashi has said about the origins of this piece: "I wrote it on the train to Tokyo, and recorded it on arrival because it was urgent to present the slides for the rally.
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Takahashi once reacted to a performance I gave of Piano 3, saying: "…it sounded good, not like European/American contemporary music, and good because different from what I vaguely imagined it would sound like.
San Francisco Conservatory of Dance
www.sfconservatoryofdance.org, 18 Dec 2014 [cached]
In 2008 Alessio performed in Tokyo the work "Transparent Labyrinth", choreographed by Akira Kasai on "The Art of Fugue" of Johann Sebastian Bach, played in performance by the pianist Yuji Takahashi.
Tokyo Wonder Site
www.tokyo-ws.org [cached]
Guest speaker: Yuji Takahashi (Composer, Pianist) /
Accordionist Rocco Anthony Jerry gave ten ...
www.accordionusa.com, 1 Oct 2011 [cached]
Accordionist Rocco Anthony Jerry gave ten performances of "snow/wind/radios" by composer Yuji Takahashi.
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The Japanese composer and pianist, Yuji Takahashi, studied composition with Minao Shibata, Ogura Roh, and Iannis Xenakis. His career as a pianist made him a leading exponent of new piano music, and he developed a reputation for performing the most difficult new piano works. In the 1960’s, he performed the piano music of Xenakis, Boulez, and Cage in Europe and the U.S. He lived in the US for a number of years in the 1960’s on a Rockefeller grant, during which he was a soloist with many of America’s leading orchestras. During this time, he also taught at Indiana University and San Francisco Conservatory. In the 1970’s, he edited the Japanese avant-garde quarterly, “tranSonicâ€. In 1978-1985, he organized the “Suigyu Band†which performed Asian and Latin American protest songs. In 1990-2007, he composed many pieces for traditional Japanese instruments and voices, and has also written for keyboard instruments, chamber music, and orchestra.
Yuji Takahashi ...
www.ycmfindonesia.bravehost.com [cached]
Yuji Takahashi
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Yuji Takahashi (Japan)
Yuji Takahashi was born in Tokyo in 1938, where he studied composition with Minao Shibata and Roh Ogura, and piano with Hiroshi Ito. In 1961, he made a sensational debut at a modern music festival sponsored by the Nippon Broadcasting Company, substituting at the last minute for the regularly scheduled soloist. This marked his emergence as a leading exponent of new piano music. The start of his career as a composer can be traced to 1962 and a piece for electronics and twelve instruments. At about the same time, along with fellow composers Toshi Ichiyanagi and Kenji Kobayashi, he organized an ensemble for new music, the New Directions group.
Sponsored by the Ford Foundation, Takahashi lived in Berlin from 1963 to 1965, where he studied with Iannis Xenakis. In 1966, supported by a grant from the J. D. Rockefeller III. Fund, he came to New York to compose music using computers, and was subsequently a highly visible and influential participant in new music activities in the U. S., with appearances at the Berkshire Music Center, the Ravinia Music Festival, the Stratford (Ontario) Festival and The Center for the Creative and Performing Arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo. During this time, he was a soloist with such ensembles as the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony and the Buffalo Philharmonic. He gave solo recitals at the Athens Festival, the Stockholm Festival, the Oxford Bach Festival, the Domaine Musical in Paris, the Signaal series in Amsterdam, the Twice Series in Los Angeles, the Princeton Chamber Concerts and the Evenings for New Music and New Images of Sound in New York. In 1966 and 1968 he performed and spoke at the UNESCO International Music Council Congresses in Manila and New York and wrote a work performed at the Japanese Music Pavilion at the 1970 Osaka World's Fair.
Takahashi remained in the U. S. until 1972, teaching piano at Indiana University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In 1971, during his residence in San Francisco, he performed 3 of his own electronic works (Time, Yeguen, and Binsets) at one of the first informal concerts (called "Bring Your Own Pillow" at the Hansen Fuller Gallery on Grant Avenue) of what was to become the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.
For many years, Takahashi was known, along with only a few other pianists - Tudor, Kontarsky, Helffer, Woodward, Jacobs, Rzewski - as someone able to decipher and play the most difficult new works for piano. Xenakis wrote both Herma and Eonta for Takahashi. Takahashi premiered Herma in Tokyo in February of 1962 and Eonta in December, 1964 in Paris, with Boulez conducting.
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