Ryuichi Sakamoto

Profile

Ryuichi Sakamoto (Tokyo, 1952) has lived many musical lives in his nearly 70 years. As a keyboardist and songwriter in Haruomi Hosono’s Yellow Magic Orchestra, he helped set the stage for technopop.  His solo experiments in fusing global genres and close studies of classical impressionism led to him scoring nearly 40 films in as many years, including Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence (1983), Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987) and The Sheltering Sky (1990), and the Academy Award-winning film The Revenant (2015) by Alejandro González Iñárritu. In the past 20 years alone, he’s written a multimedia opera, turned a glass building into an instrument, and travelled to the Arctic to record the sound of melting snow. That exploratory spirit runs through Sakamoto’s 2017 album, async, which paints an audio portrait of the passing of time informed by his recovery from throat cancer. ‘Music, work, and life all have a beginning and an ending,’ said Sakamoto in early 2019. ‘What I want to make now is music freed from the constraints of time.’ Since the mid-nineties, Sakamoto has devoted much of his time to environmental and activist causes, also reflected in his work, as in the opera LIFE (1999). He has launched charitable organisations and beginning in 2012, organised the yearly ongoing music event NO NUKES, which many well-known artists, including Kraftwerk, took part in to protestnuclear energy after the Fukushima disaster. His accolades include an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, a Grammy, the Order of the Cavaleiro Admissão from the Brazilian government and the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government. Internationally acclaimed visual artist Shiro Takatani (Tokyo, 1963) graduated in Environmental Design, Kyoto City University of Arts. In 1984, he co-founded the artist collective Dumb Type. Dumb Type began touring around the world and got recognition with their multidisciplinary shows, such as OR (1997-1999), Voyage (2002-2009) and MEMORANDUM OR VOYAGE (2014). Takatani has also created many installations and performances under his own name. Since his first installation frost frames (1998), museums, festivals and theatres worldwide have invited him. The past two decades Takatani has created many ambient art projects in collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto. For the Valencia Biennial in 2001, Takatani created the video installation IRIS in collaboration with fog sculptor Fujiko Nakaya, and in 2005, the Natural History Museum of Latvia commissioned two video installations: Ice Core and Snow Crystal / fiber optic type, as part of an exhibition dedicated to Ukichiro Nakaya’s scientific work on snow and ice. His more recent creations include the large-scale fog installation CLOUD FOREST (2010), one of the first animation artworks for the 3D WATER MATRIX (2014) at the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris and the performance-installation ST/LL (2015), a reflection on human perceptions of time and space. The performance has been restaged many times and was last presented during the 2019 Singapore International Festival of Arts. Projects by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Shiro Takatani 1999         LIFE 2005      Garden Live in Kyoto 2007      LIFE - fluid, invisible, inaudible... 2007      Garden Live in Kyoto 2010       Mallarmé project I 2011         Mallarmé project II 2012        silence spins    Collapsed 2013        LIFE-WELL 2013        water state 1 2014        Forest Symphony 2015        ST/LL 2016        PLANKTON: A Drifting World at the Origin of Life 2017        async - drowning     async - Live at the Park Avenue Armory 2018        dis•play - Live IS YOUR TIME  2019       Fragments - Singapore – Live Min Tanaka (Tokyo, 1945) is a pioneer within the vast landscape of dance. With training in classical ballet and modern dance, Tanaka is seen as an avant-garde and experimental dancer. He is recognized internationally as a pioneer of Butoh. In 1966, Tanaka started with solo performances. He withdrew himself from the Japanese Contemporary Dance Association, and started his own dance activities in 1974. Tanaka’s practices developed into his “hyper-dance”, emphasizing a complete unity of mind and body. In 1985, he founded the Body Weather Farm in Hakushu town, Yamanashi, a cooperative environment for dancers exploring the origins of dance through farming life. His search for the origin of dance continues and has come to take an even more deep-rooted approach with the Locus Focus project, a continuing series of site-specific and improvisational dance performance taking place throughout Japan and abroad. In addition to his own original solo and group work, Min Tanaka has been keen to revive important works of dance and created his version of The Rite of Spring with international groups dancers in Japan, France, the Czech Republic and Slovakia between 1990-1992, and with Russian folk dancers in Moscow in 1997. In 2003, he was appointed as Master of the new dance department at the School of Dramatic Art in Moscow. With the dance company in Moscow he staged an original dance work Goya—Guests from the Dark in 2005. Tanaka has collaborated with renowned artists from various disciplines – composers such as Luciano Berio and Hans Werner Henze, improvisers such as Milford Graves, Cecil Taylor and John Cale, visual artists like Karel Appel and Richard Serra and the writer Susan Sontag. He has been awarded Chevalier des arts et des lettre from France and participated in projects around the globe. Mayumi Miyata (Tokyo, 1954) is distinguished by being one of the first artists to bring the Gagaku wind instrument Shō to worldwide recognition and to expand its awareness not only as a traditional instrument but one that has a valid place in contemporary music. Having graduated from Kunitachi College of Music in piano, Mayumi Miyata studied Gagaku and in 1979 she joined the Gagaku ensemble at the National Theater of Japan. Since her debut recital in Tokyo in 1983, she has been active as a soloist and stunned audiences in Europe and North America, in concert halls like La Scala in Milan, Vienna Konzerthaus and at festivals such as London Proms, Wien Modern, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik and the Pacific Music Festival. She has worked closely with John Cage, and other composers such as Toru Takemitsu, Toshio Hosokawa, Helmut Lachenmann, Paul Méfano, Klaus Huber, and Pierre-Yves Artaud. Her recent collaborations include the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Kazushi Ono, the Orchestre Symphonique de la Monnaie with Kazushi Ono, the NHK Symphony Orchestra with Charles Dutoit for their European tour, the New York Philharmonic with André Previn, the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra with Seiji Ozawa, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra with Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Bamberger Symphoniker with Jonathan Nott and the Orchestre National de Lyon with Jun Maerkl. Furthermore she was nominated as cultural ambassador by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, promoting knowledge of the Shō overseas.