I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your attendance at the 8th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition. With thanks to the wonderful support and cooperation of many people, I am truly delighted to be able to open this competition with such grandeur.
This competition began in 1991 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the establishment of Hamamatsu City. It was started as an international project which could fittingly express the pride held in Hamamatsu’s tradition and history as a city of music and instruments. The competition has been held every 3 years since and has nurtured the development of young pianists and provided them with a stage to display the results of their extensive hard work. The competition aims to promote world music culture and stimulate international exchange. Up until now, the competition has produced many pianists who are active on a global scale, and many of the prize-winners of the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition have gone on to receive awards at famous international piano competitions. As a result, the competition receives both domestic and international acclaim.
Welcoming the 8th installment of the competition, we invite Ms. Akiko Ebi to direct the panel of judges, as we introduce a number of new attractions to the competition program.
First, we have implemented the worlds first online application that includes the upload of musical recordings. We have received applications from 288 people across the globe, surpassing the number of applications from the previous competition. In particular, we have had a record number of Japanese applicants and contestants, and we have great expectations of them.
Next, during the 3rd preliminary round, a group of stringed instrument musicians will accompany the performance of pianists, which is another new attraction we are introducing for spectators to enjoy.
Further, in order for people to make the most of their time spent in Hamamatsu outside of enjoying the competition, as a welcome package, we have had local businesses prepare official goods and sweets for the large number of concert goers who will come from both home and abroad.
Also, as this is a competition which has roots in the locality, we will have a large number of local citizens participate as volunteers. Pianists who finish competing in the competition will also participate in exchange activities such as home stays, home concerts and school concerts etc., which have been part of the piano competitions’ program up until now. We will also hold new mini concerts outside of the city center, and continue to implement various exchange activities at the citizen level.
The slogan “Built on Citizen Cooperation ‘Hamamatsu: A City of Creativity Shining into the Future’” epitomizes Hamamatsu City’s vision for the future; the city is aiming for creative and cultural city development which would be positively felt in daily life, through activation of artistic and cultural activities. Initiatives related to this competition, which has grown with the help of citizens up until now have become irreplaceable assets for the musical culture of Hamamatsu. From now we will actively continue with musical culture initiatives in creativity, transmission and exchange, and we will contribute to the development of world musical culture.
To conclude, together with expressing my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have worked so hard in opening this competition, including those on the panel of judges, I would like to ask for your further support and cooperation with this event, which aims to be a new step towards our goal: “Hamamatsu: A City of Music”.
It is the time for the triennial music festival, Hamamatsu International Piano Competition, to take place. I am thrilled by just wondering what kind of pianists will gather for the upcoming competition from around the world.
In the society where technological innovation occurs literally every day and thus things continuously become more convenient, the art of musical performance is independent from such mechanical advancement and does not allow any easy and mediocre work for completion. It is a valuable form of culture which straightforwardly reflects individual characteristics of human beings. To this extent, it is not possible to grade artistic works, although we need to do so in a competition setting. Having said that, the purpose of competition is to encourage and inspire young talented pianists. I hope that contestants of Hamamatsu International Piano Competition will gain precious musical and lifetime experiences to enrich themselves. I would like to ask them to demonstrate their distinguished talents as fully as possible here in Hamamatsu taking this competition as a springboard for their bright and wonderful future.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude for citizens of Hamamatsu City who work as volunteers, Hamamatsu City, Hamamatsu Cultural Foundation and many other people and organizations that have been extending us immense support for making this event happen.
This cultural event represents the city’s all-out efforts as “Hamamatsu: City of Music”, and can be carried out thanks to the foundation of a peaceful and stable world environment. It is my sincere hope that the upcoming event of this musical festival will be successful and bring every person involved a valuable and rewarding experience.
As a performing musician, EBI Akiko has actively taken part in music festivals and recordings for TV and radio stations and for CD labels all over the world, including her native Japan, Europe, USA, Canada, Latin America, Russia, China, Middle East and Egypt, over the past 30 years.
EBI Akiko won the 41st Music Competition of Japan as a freshperson at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. After graduating from the Paris Conservatoire as the top student, she continued her studies in graduate school of the Conservatoire. EBI was the 2nd Grand Prix winner of the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition, where she was also awarded four special prizes by A. Rubinstein. She also received the 5th Prize in the 10th International Chopin Piano Competition (4th prize not awarded). She has received awards and official commendations, including the Frederic Chopin Society of Japan Award, two of the Japan Gold Disc Award, Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Government, a medal of honorary citizen of Paris and the Exxon-Mobile Music Prize (Japan).
She has performed under the baton of Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Vassily Sinaisky, Marek Janowski, Jean Fournet, Zdeněk Košler, Theodor Guschlbauer, Lawrence Foster, Erich Bergel, Rani Calderon, Frans Bruggen, Michiyoshi Inoue, Yutaka Sado, Kenichiro Kobayashi and many other eminent conductors and with orchestras, such as the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, theTokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra and local symphony orchestras in Sapporo, Kansai, Hiroshima and Kyushu, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic and Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Argentine National Symphony Orchestra as well as orchestras in Latvia, UK and other countries. In the field of chamber music, she has played a number of times with Ivry Gitlis, Augustin Dumay, Regis Pasquier, Arto Noras, Gautier Capucon, Yumino Toyoda, Angela Hewitt, Michel Dalberto, the Moragues Quintet, the Parisii Quartet and Quatuor Via Nova.
Her recent 2-piano recitals with Martha Argerich have been repeatedly broadcast all over the world. She has taken active part in music festivals, such as Verbier, La Roque d'Anthéron, Lugano, Menton, Cannes, New York IKIF, Texas, Salt Lake City, Duszniki, Enescu, Echternach, La Folle Journée (Nantes, Tokyo, Niigata, Lisbon), Buenos Aires, Toledo, Madrid, Tokyo and Beppu. She has performed in some of the world’s most prestigious music halls, such as Berliner Philharmonie, Gewandhaus, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Salle Pleyel, Wigmore Hall, Teatro Colón and Suntory Hall.
In spring 2012, EBI completed recording in Warsaw for a CD of Chopin’s complete preludes and impromptus on an Erard of 1838. She has released 11 CD albums, including works of Dynam-Victor Fumet (world’s first performance), Anton von Webern, César Franck, Gabriel Pierné’s Quartet for Piano and Strings and Hikari Oe’s works for piano. Her publications include sheet music, “Ravel: Complete Piano Works” (3 volumes), and a book, “Aldo Ciccolini - Je Suis Un Lirico Spinto” (Japanese translation) published by Zen-On Music Company Ltd.).
Enjoying the full confidence of pianistic circles worldwide as one of the most distinguished pianists representing Japan, EBI has been asked to teach master classes and to serve on the jury of international piano competitions in different parts of the world.
As a music educator, she formerly served as Visiting Professor at Department of Instrumental Music (Piano), Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and is currently Professor at Graduate School, Nihon University College of Art. She is trustee of the Frederic Chopin Society of Japan and chairperson of the Planning Committee of Yokohama International Piano Concert. She studied with Hisako Endo, Junko Kojima, Rie Okamura, Susumu Nagai, Toyoaki Matsuura, Kazuko Yasukawa, Aldo Ciccolini, Marie-Claire Laroche, Louis Kentner, Conrad Hansen, Colette Zerah and Vlado Perlemuter.
It is nearly a quarter of a century since the 1st Hamamatsu International Piano Competition was held in 1991. The 9th Competition will take place in 2015.
Since I was appointed as a jury member and the commissioned composer for the 5th competition in 2003, I have been involved in the competition both directly and indirectly for many years.
Over the last ten years or so, the Hamamatsu International Competition has been continually launching new initiatives: master classes by jury members, live streaming/video clips of the competition available on the website (not common at the time), the institution of a chamber music performance at the 8th competition, to name a few. Through these innovative approaches the Hamamatsu International Competition has made remarkable progress and has gained a high reputation and credibility worldwide as one of the prestigious international piano competitions. I appreciate the uncompromising and tireless efforts made by the competition organizers.
For the 9th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition, I am honored to participate for the first time in the capacity of Chairperson of Management Committee. Working in partnership with Hamamatsu City, it is my sincere hope to set the direction of the competition with a view to the next generation, by bringing a wide range of perspectives to the organizing of the competition, including my insights as a composer and a pianist.
At the 9th competition, two commissioned composers will compose new works which will form the competition’s repertoire. It is based on my intention to thereby allow contestants to make a free choice in the category of new work so that they can demonstrate their musical diversity as fully as possible. My hope is that many uniquely gifted and creative pianists will understand this aim and apply to enter the 9th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition.
Born in 1933 in Kobe, Japan, Toshi Ichiyanagi studied composition with Kishio Hirao and John Cage, piano with Chieko Hara, Barnhard Weiser and Beveridge Webster. After attending the Julliard School of Music and the New School for Social Research in New York between 1954-60, he returned to Japan in 1961, and introduced many new musical concepts, including Cage's idea of indeterminacy, exerting a strong influence on the stream of the Japanese contemporary music. As one of the leading composers in Japan, Ichiyanagi has composed in most genres of music: operas, orchestral, chamber and instrumental works. Among his major works are Violin Concerto "Circulating Scenery" (1983), Piano Concerto No. 2 "Winter Portrait" (1987) and Opera "Momo" (1995, based on a novel by Michael Ende). While composing these large-scale pieces, he is also known for his compositions using Japanese traditional instruments such as sho and gagaku ensemble. Many of them have been performed throughout the world, especially by Tokyo International Music Ensemble where he serves as Artistic Director.
Ichiyanagi won the Elizabeth A. Coolidge Prize (1954) and the Serge Koussevitzky Prize (1956) during his studies in New York. Ever since, he has received numerous awards including the prestigious Nakajima Kenzo Award (1984), the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the French Government (1985) and Grand Prix of the Kyoto Music Award (1989). In 1990, he was awarded the Otaka Prize for the fourth time, for his unique symphony "Berlin Renshi". His recent works include "Coexistence" for ondes martenot and orchestra (1996), Symphony No.5 "Time Perspective"(1997), "Coexistence" for orchestra (1997) and "Mirage" for shakuhachi and piano (1998).
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