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World Premieres of Toshio Hosokawa's Uzu and Passage in Japan

Nov. 01, 2019

World Premieres of Toshio Hosokawa's <em>Uzu</em> and <em>Passage</em> in Japan

On November 28, the world premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s Uzu will be presented by the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra conducted by Yoichi Sugiyama.

Uzu, for orchestra, was co-commissioned by Suntory Foundation for the Arts, Winter International Arts Festival Sochi, and Philharmonie Essen, and was composed to celebrate the 60th birthday of Hosokawa’s friend, Jun Märkl. Hosokawa has always been deeply influenced by the music of shō. The shō is articulated when the performer slowly exhales and inhales. According to Hosokawa, the repetition of this process produces time that seems to circulate, and the subtle differences made through further repetition create a spiralling uzu (whirlpool)-like time. In Uzu, the orchestra is divided into five groups in total, placed in the right, left and center of the stage and as two bands among the audience seats. In this way, the audience is included and invited to participate in the spiral of uzu. 

The Japanese premiere of Hosokawa’s organ concerto Umarmung - Licht und Schatten - will also be presented at this same concert. Umarmung was co-commissioned by the Bamberger Symphoniker, Kölner Philharmonie, Philharmonie Luxembourg, and Wiener Konzerthaus with the support of The Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, and the world premiere was given by the Bamberger Symphoniker conducted by Jakub Hrusa in 2017. Christian Schmitt who was the soloist for the world premiere will perform for the Japanese premiere also.

On November 23 at the Takasaki City Theatre, which opened in September this year, the world premiere of Hosokawa’s Passage will be given by the Arditti Quartet. Co-commissioned by the Takasaki City Theatre and the Kölner Philharmonie, this work was composed based on Beethoven’s conversation notes to celebrate the 250th birthday of Beethoven in 2020. The German premiere will take place in 2020.

The title, Passage came from the composer’s idea that music is a passage that connects reality and dream, this world and the other. It will be exciting to hear what sort of landscape the Arditti Quartet, who have been close collaborators of Hosokawa's for many years, will invite us to explore.

Finally, on November 30, the Japanese premiere of Hosokawa’s Klänge der Lethe will also be performed at Oji Hall. Klänge der Lethe was co-commissioned by Emmanuel Pahud, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Eric le Sage, Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical (Madrid), Kölner Philharmonie, Daniel Barenboim Stiftung, and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg in 2017. In January 2018, the world premiere of the piece was presented by the trio formed by Pahud, Le Sage and Queyras in Madrid. The Japanese premiere will be performed by this same trio.

Listen to Toshio Hosokawa's Landscape V (1993): 

(Landscape V/Toshio Hosokawa/Mayumi Miyata, Shô/Arditti String Quartet)

To learn more about Toshio Hosokawa, visit:

Toshio Hosokawa
Uzu (2019)
for orchestra

Umarmung―Licht und Schatten (2017)
for organ and orchestra

Passage (2019)
for string quartet 

Klänge der Lethe (2017)
for flute, violoncello and piano