A Super-Collision of East and West
Tim Rutherford-Johnson meets up-and-coming composer Dai Fujikura, whoʼs
collaborated with Ryichi Sakamoto and OKEANOS for his Out Hear event this autumn.
If Kings Placeʼs Out Hear series is designed to unite different audiences for new and
exploratory music, then Dai Fujikuraʼs curated concert on 8th NOVEMBER is an Out Hear
season in miniature. The British-Japanese composer is bringing together a variety of the
best new music performers for an evening of contrasts and unexpected connections.
The concert has been conceived theatrically. Apart from chamber group OKEANOS,
who will play the five movements of Fujikuraʼs newly-completed OKEANOS Cycle, and a
video collaboration with the pop and film composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (who is not
appearing in person) each musician will play from memory. They will be individually
spotlit and most will be dispersed to the edges or corners of the auditorium, except
violinist James Widden, who will bring the fragile sounds of Lachenmannʼs Toccatina
into the centre of the audience. Fujikura explains that each performer is playing a piece
with which they have a close personal relationship: “Either it was written for them or they
have been playing it for a long time. The musicians can really play these pieces, they are
not learning new things. So each one should be played with as much comfort and love
Bassonist Pascal Gallois, who will play Berioʼs Sequenza XII, exemplifies this goal.
Based in Paris, he is taking full of advantage of Kings Place's location to make a quick
return home on the Eurostar, but the Sequenza, written specially for him, is so much a
part of his personal fabric that he is able to travel light – no score, just his instrument.
The final ensemble piece was written by Fujikura for OKEANOS, with whom he has
worked for some years: the group is notable for combining Western instruments with
Japanese koto (zither) and sho (mouth organ). As the composer explains, “Itʼs a
completely multicultural ensemble, which is actually not something I aim for, but naturally
itʼs a mixture that is in myself.” In fact, Fujikuraʼs first encounter with Japanese
instruments did not come until he was 20 at, of all places, the German summer school of
Darmstadt. “Iʼm very opposed to the idea that Japanese composers should write
Japanese music. With this piece I focussed on the sonorities of the instruments – it just
happened to be Japanese instruments. I had to work closely with OKEANOS because I
was not familiar with koto or sho. I was curious because I didnʼt know how to write for
them – what are they? I didnʼt know!”
Fujikura is keen to emphasise that his thinking behind this concert is not only to present
each work in its best possible light, with the best performers and as few distractions as
possible, but also to connect opposite points on the musical map: the title ʻSuper-
Colliderʼ highlights his goal of finding unexpected results in unusual combinations.
“Lachenmann and Toop, say, are probably the furthest apart, they are the complete
opposite. But then Lachenmannʼs music – especially this piece – is more noise than
conventional playing. And maybe thatʼs not so far, sonority-wise, from Toop. So there is
some similarity on one level but a complete contrast on another. Personally, I canʼt wait
to go to this interesting concert – itʼs my playlist!”
This concert is Here
© Copyright Dai Fujikura. All rights reserved.