Articles and Reviews

“The blending of Japanese and European chamber traditions with a very American rhythmic propulsion was unexpectedly groovy.” New York Times 8/31/2013

“Miura’s Three Poems was written expressly for Duo Yumeno (cellist Hikaru Tamaki and Yoko Reikano Kimura playing shamisen and singing) who premiered the work. This was spare, delicate, focused playing, each gesture full of surprise and drama. The music was graceful and exacting, the musicians careful with space and matching intonation to perfection, the better to pull the most scintillating sensations out of Miura’s microtonal passages. The composition and playing were impressive for how the dry timbres of the instruments, and Kimura’s traditional-style singing, expanded into an evocative and aptly dreamy atmosphere.” New York Classical Review 9/5/2022

“Played with precision and deep feeling by the duo—cellist Hikaru Tamaki and koto player Yoko Reikano Kimura—the piece was a gripping, gorgeous narrative of the life of a woman in 12th-century Japan. Full of idiomatic flavor, it made compelling use of the techniques of the Western classical tradition, especially polyphony and formal design. Most impressive was how the music told a clear, succinct, and unsentimental story using vocal sounds without texts.” New York Classical Review 9/1/2016

“Yoko Reikano Kimura played the shamisen. She and cellist Hikaru Tamaki comprise the Duo Yumeno, and they opened the night with the world premiere performance of Yoko Sato’s Not a Single Cloud Exists. Even on the non-Western instrument, this is a tasty, rhythmically vital piece of acoustic rock and roll. Kimura’s part called for her to lay down unmistakable rhythm guitar music, while Tamaki played a solo that would have sounded right at home on an electric guitar—then the roles reversed, and alternated throughout the piece. Beyond the entertaining energy, the composition has excellent solo writing, and the duo played with confident and relaxed commitment.” New York Classical Review 1/2/2016

“Although the pairing of the koto and cello was unexpected, I was instantly spellbound by the exquisite sounds created by the two instruments and deeply touched to hear instruments from two different cultures playing in such beautiful harmony and sounding completely compatible with each other. Duo YUMENO’s wonderful appeal comes not only from the unique combination of their instruments but from Kimura and Tamaki’s superb technique and impeccable ensemble work. In the Flowers, Birds, Wind, Moon suite, a commissioned work by American Marty Regan, the voices of the koto and cello shifted in color like a kaleidoscope, creating a variety of rich and expressive tones. We present the Aoyama Music Award’s Baroque Saal Prize to Duo YUMENO in hopes that Kimura and Tamaki’s compellingly powerful soundscapes will reach audiences not only in Japan and the US but throughout the rest of the world.” Yasuko Tazumi, Jury President, Kyoto Aoyama Music Award 2015

“It was … an unexpected pleasure to hear the tonal richness of this koto and cello duo … and to experience the dramatic and penetrating sophistication of the playing of these two instrumentalists. To boot, the duo’s repertoire is a fascinating selection of mostly contemporary works that features the expressive strengths of both instruments.” Boston Arts Diary ( 10/30/2013

“Yoko Reikano Kimura and Hikaru Tamaki have worked tirelessly to bring their music to audiences around the globe as musical and cultural ambassadors and to expand and develop the repertoire for their instruments. Their activities represent a new paradigm for music-making in the twenty-first century, one in which imagined musical boundaries between the clichéd trope of “East meets West” become blurred and transcended and we merge into one global musical community. Achieving a rare balance between flawlessly accurate technique and profound musical expression, their performance can be likened to a deeply poetic interaction between two souls, transmitted through the medium of sound.” Marty Regan (composer, Professor of Music at Texas A&M University)