Duo YUMENO 夢乃 Biography
New York based koto / shamisen player and singer Yoko Reikano Kimura and cellist Hikaru Tamaki create a singular fusion sound, inspired by tradition but with a contemporary sensibility. Duo YUMENO’s repertoire includes a dynamic range of compositions – both traditional and contemporary - all of which explore the dialogue between classical Japanese and western music. Duo YUMENO champions works by contemporary American and Japanese composers, including Marty Regan, Daron Hagen, James Nyoraku Schlefer, Gene Coleman, Yoko Sato, Martin Max Shreiner, Lou Harrison, Minoru Miki, Takatomi Nobunaga and Hiroki Tamaki. In 2014, they were awarded the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program grant to commission a new work by Gene Coleman, and in 2015, received the Aoyama Baroque Saal Award. Their activities have been featured in the media, like the New York Times, Chamber Music Magazine, New York Classical Review, Yomiuri Shimbun, Hōgaku Journal and NPR.
Yoko Reikano Kimura and Hikaru Tamaki first collaborated at the Fort Wayne Cherry Blossom Festival in 2008 and since then, have been performing together regularly in Japan and the US. Between 2010 and 2013, they have presented the Kacho-fugetsu concert series, for which they commissioned works by Marty Regan over a four year period. In recognition of the Kacho-fugetsu series, they were awarded the Janet Latz Professional Fellowship in 2011. Since 2010, they have held a successful annual tour to Japan that has extended to such cities as Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Some of the notable venues are the Tokyo National Museum, the Myōnichi-kan Auditorium (Tokyo), the Aoyama Music Memorial Hall (Kyoto), Ryōan-ji and Yakushi-ji Temples. They have been actively presenting their cross-cultural programs throughout the US and have performed at venues such as the United Nations, New England Conservatory, Princeton University, Tufts University, Texas A&M University, Ball State University, Bargemusic, Bryant Park, Tenri Cultural Institute of New York, Globus Washitsu, Renaissance Society of Chicago and Krasl Art Center (MI).
The duo was invited to Turkey in 2013, performing at the former Consulate General of Japan in Istanbul and at Namik Kemal University in Tekirdag. In 2014, they visited Trinidad and were featured at the opening concert of "Japan - CARICOM (14 Caribbean countries) Friendship Year 2014" – an event promoted by the Japan Foundation, NY and co-organized by the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago. In 2015, the duo was invited to perform at Clare Hall, a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, to present a concert featuring classical and modern works for Japanese instruments.
Their long-awaited debut duo CD, "Flowers, Birds, Wind, Moon: Music of Marty Regan" was released in May 2015.
Yoko Reikano Kimura (koto/shamisen/voice)
Koto/shamisen performer and singer, Yoko Reikano Kimura has concertized around the world. For her koto playing, she was touted as “beautiful” and “genuinely talented” by Hogaku no Tomo (Japan). The New York Times described her shamisen playing and singing as “superb”. She graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts and Music and continued her studies at the NHK School for Young Professionals and the Institute of Traditional Japanese Music. Yoko received a scholarship from the Agency of Culture Affairs of Japan. Her teachers include Kono Kameyama (Yamada school), Akiko Nishigata (contemporary shamisen music), and a Living National Treasure, Senko Yamabiko (Kato-bushi shamisen). Yoko received her stage name "Reikano" from Hiroko Nakanoshima VI and “Reiko Yamabiko” for her Kato-bushi shamisen playing. She is continuing her performances in Japan and holds a teaching position at the Institute of Traditional Japanese Music, an affiliate of Senzoku Gakuen College of Music. Yoko has won numerous awards including the First Prize at the prestigious 10th Kenjun Memorial National Koto Competition as the first Yamada school player. Yoko won the Debut Concert Audition at Toppan Hall, Tokyo and received the First Prize and the Osaka Chinese Counsel's Award at the Great Wall International Music Competition. She won the Japanese music audition for NHK FM radio. In 2004 she performed a shamisen concerto at the National Olympic Memorial Center. In 2011 she was awarded the Janet Latz Professional Fellowship with her husband, Hikaru Tamaki. In 2013-14 Yoko collaborated with the Cassatt Quartet, the Freimann Quartet and performed the Koto Concerto: Genji with the Champaign-Urbana based Prairie Ensemble under the baton of Kevin Kelly. As a koto/ shamisen soloist and collaborator, Yoko has performed with many well-known traditional Japanese performers and worked with such artists/musicians as Heiner Goebbels, the Wien Solisten Trio, Kyo-Shin-An Arts, the Ciompi Quartet, the Euclid Quartet, Kenny Endo and Yasuko Yokoshi. Since 2004, Yoko has performed in such places as Poland, Switzerland, France, Lithuania, Korea, China, Israel, Qatar, Italy, Turkey and South America.
Hikaru Tamaki (cello)
Hikaru Tamaki concertizes regularly as a soloist and a chamber musician in the US and Japan. He served as the principal cellist of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and was a member of the Freimann String Quartet from 2001 to 2013. Before joining the Philharmonic, he was an associate principal cellist of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and performed under the baton of Daniel Barenboim at Carnegie Hall. Born in Kyoto, Japan in 1975, he studied with Noboru Kamimura and Peter Seidenberg. Studies in the United States began in 1994 at the Eastman School of Music, where he was named a George Eastman Scholar, and continued at Rice University and Northwestern University. He was awarded a bachelor of arts degree from Rice and a master of music degree from Northwestern University, where his teachers were Paul Katz and Hans Jorgen Jensen. Hikaru was a prizewinner in the prestigious All Japan Viva Hall Cello Competition in 2000. Other awards include first Prize at the Society of American Musicians Young Artists Competition and the Bach Festival Young Artists Competition in Kalamazoo, Michigan. During visits to Japan each year, he gives solo performances, lecture concerts and chamber concerts. Solo performances with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic have included the Dvorak Cello Concerto, Schelomo, Don Quixote and most recently the Haydn Cello Concerto in D. In 2008 he released his first solo album, which includes the works of J.S. Bach and Toshiro Mayuzumi. In 2009, he began collaborations with his wife, Yoko Reikano Kimura (koto/shamisen) and they have given concerts and workshops in various cities in Japan, the US and around the world under the moniker Duo YUMENO. In 2011, they were awarded the Janet Latz Professional Development Fellowship in recognition of their duo activities. In 2014, he was invited to serve as guest principal cellist of the Reading Symphony Orchestra and SONOS Chamber Orchestra. Hikaru also participatedled in a workshop of an opera-in-progress based on the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, with music by Sheila Silver and libretto by Stephen Kitsakos.
About the duo's name
The duo’s name YUMENO 夢乃 means “of dreams” in Japanese. It is taken from a scroll which was given to Hikaru by Soko Morinaga, the Zen Buddhist master from whom Hikaru received his name.
The text reads 夢乃里無片雲 (In the land of dreams, not a single cloud exists.) The duo cherishes the scroll and took the first two characters for their name, hoping that their dreams will be as clear as a pure blue sky.