Klaipėda carillon festival
Programme: Go Okawa, Kosaku Yamada, Rentaro Taki, Kengyo Yatsuhashi, Kengyo Yatsuhashi, Joe Hisaishi, John Williams, Naoto Omasa (carillon and electronics)
A concert announced and commented by musicologist Veronika Janatjeva.
The “Afternoon Bells” will introduce Japanese carillonneur Toru Takao and his recital. Born in 1977 in Himeji, Japan, he studied carillon at the Dutch Carillon School in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, and holds a Master’s of Music degree from this school (2008). Alone and in duets he took part in international carillon competition and was awarded highest prizes. Toru and his wife Katarzyna Piastowska-Takao have been based in Wuppertal and worked as freelance musicians and carillonneurs in Germany since 2009, where they promote German, Japanese and Polish carillon music. In 2012, they reinstituted regular carillon recitals at the Saint Aldegonde’s Church in Emmerich. Since 2015, they have organized the Emmericher Glocken Sommer, a concert series presented in cooperation with the city and the church and which also features guest carillonneurs. Toru Takao is member of the German Carillon Association (Deutsche Glockenspielvereinigung). Together with his Japanese colleagues, he established the Association of Carillon Art in Japan, which is the first Asian organization dedicated to the promotion of the carillon culture in Japan.
In 2016, the Takao couple made their debut at the Klaipėda Carillon Festival. For his solo appearance this year Toru Takao chose a theme and dedicated his recital programme to the centennial of diplomatic relations between Japan and Lithuania. The programme commemorates Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who served as vice-consul for the Japanese Empire in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 1939–1940. During the first years of the Second World War, he helped thousands of Jews flee Europe by issuing transit visas to them so that they could travel through Japanese territory.
The majority of pieces featured in this concert are written by Japanese composers for carillon and electronics, some of them being composed especially for this programme. It also includes the arrangements made by Takao, which reflect the age-old cultural traditions and amazing nature of his home country.