Hiroaki Takaha

Residency Program

Exchange Residency Program (Japan-based creators sent abroad)

update: 2019.11.26

Hiroaki Takaha

Participating ProjectExchange Residency Program (Japanese Creators sent abroad)
Activity BasedJapan
Period2010.6 - 2010.7
Purpose of the residency

The purpose of the residency is to present my works at the Finnish music festival, the Time of Music. Another is to make a research on the Finnish music scene and to be acquainted and exchange ideas with the musicians in Finland especially at Avanti! Summer Sounds and Time of Music.

Plan during the residency

Avanti! Summer Sounds Presentation

Time of Music Presentation

Exchange Residency Program 2010, Dispatch (Finland)

Plan during the residency
My main plan is: to participate in the music festival and to appreciate the performances; to experience the Finnish cultural activities in music; to compose some musical pieces during the stay.

Achievements of the Residency
It was a valuable opportunity to experience the production environment of the Finnish music through various activities: I enjoyed almost every performance at Avanti! Summer Sounds (June30 - July 4, 2010) and Time of Music (July 6 - 11, 2010) and participated in the lesson at Time of Music. It was also a splendid experience to be able to present my works at the two major music festivals and to exchange ideas with the young Finnish musicians.

In Avanti! Summer Sounds the contemporary pieces were played in between the classical pieces, and the atmosphere of the festival was very warm as most of the audience was general public. Toshi Ichiyanagi, the renowned composer and the main guest of the festival, performed as pianist everyday, and the festival was filled with feverish excitement. The performances of Avanti! members were also superb; especially in the chamber works the world's leading musicians were assembled and the music they played was admirable. The most impressive project was the concert for children. The pieces composed by young musicians who participated in the workshop were played in turn. As the audience was from 3 years old to elementary school children, I at first doubted the success of the very contemporary experimental music concert with full of noise without tonality, however children actually enjoyed it very much with the help of moving performance of the narrator who appeared in between the pieces. It was a very successful example of the contemporary music concert which was accepted by family audience with enthusiasm while composers experimented various methods to their satisfaction
On the other hand, Time of Music played only contemporaries. Many of the first performances of young composers were seen as well as Marco Stroppa, the guest composer and the lecturer of the master class. Above all, the performing environment was amazing. Even though one of the festival's themes was "Electronics", it was still surprising to see every equipment required for every musician were provided, such as MIDI piano prepared for the first day performance as well as the space sound system composed of a lot of electronic sound speakers which appeared everyday.
Stage lighting requests were granted as well: for performances at churches and school gymnasiums lighting equipments with stands were supplied. Furthermore it has proved that the copyright management for musical pieces is assured prior to the first performance as the first performance scores for Finnish composers were bound by FIMIC. I had an impression that with such a full support in creative environment the Finnish young artists are encouraged to reflect 120% of their overflowing images in their pieces with their original practices.
During the latter half of the festival, the workshop involved with Ensemble Adapter, a group of five young performers who are active around Germany and Ireland, was held: Ensemble Adapter has performed the work which has just completed at the master class lesson, and their process of exchanging ideas with the composer to complete the performance was opened to the public. This great project which all the participants also went up onto the stage to listen to the trial performance with the score in hand has impressively presented their generosity in opening their performance at sight to public and their cooperative manner to the composer. Ensemble Adapter had a great interest in Japan, as their member composition is the same as Sound Space Ark formed in the 70's in Japan, and I found a congenial spirit in them
The contemporary music class of J. Hartikainen, the composer, was very interesting as well. Hartikainen, who has attended the festival for 7 times now, has intelligibly made lectures to general public on contemporary music every morning for an hour, and this very successful lecture were attended by many eager people. The structure of the festival which provides not only edgy concerts everyday but also educational program for general public was very impressive.
Although the festival does not mobilize a large number of people, the organizer expresses what they want to express to their hearts' content: they gathered the guest composer Mr. Stroppa and internationally renowned musicians, and Musical Director Perttu Haapanen himself joins the
performance of Microphonie of Stockhausen. The festival really comes alive with that enthusiasm spreads through the gathered musicians and audiences. I found the true charm of the music festival in small town.

Memo of the stay
June 30th Arrived at Helsinki.
July 1st to 4th Stayed at the guest room of Society of Finnish Composers and participated in the Avanti! Summer Sounds music festival at Porvoo.
July 5th Visited FIMIC(Finnish Music Information Centre) with Toshi Ichiyanagi.
July 6th to 11th Transferred to Viitasaari for Time of Music
July 11th to 15th Back to Helsinki. Visited the Sibelius Academy and the classic ground of Sibelius House.

Activities at the Residency

1. Presentation at the Avanti! Summer Sounds
The presentation for 8 young composers were made on the 2nd of July for an hour from 16:00. The young composers were in middle of the workshop which is to stay with members of Avanti for several days and attend the classes of Salonen and Lindberg, the finest composers represent Finland, and the qualities of their works were amazing. Jukka Tiensuu, the composer, has also attended my presentation as he was invited as lecturer on that same day. The presentation took place at the lesson room at Avanti! Members' lodging house. I am very much grateful for Seppo Kimanen, the Musical Director, and Tomi Raisanen, the person in charge of the workshop as well as the composer, for their kindness to help me with preparation of reference materials although I asked just before the presentation.
The theme of the presentation was "The Relation between My Works and Japanese Tradition" which was described briefly with 3 pieces of my musical works. The audience was attracted to the piece with Japanese instruments. "Can traditional Japanese musicians read musical scores?" "Is there a repertory of western composer using Japanese instruments?" They earnestly observed the score of Japanese instruments in staff notaion while asking those questions. At the end of the presentation, I introduced Ensemble Muromachi I conduct, the mixed ensemble of western and Japanse instruments, and the audience showed great interest in it. I wish to give a live performance someday.

2. Presentation at the Time of Music
The presentation was made on July 11th for an hour from 12:00 at the highschool classroom where the festival office was located. The audience was about 15 people plus several authorized people including S. Haapamaki and G.S. Gunnarsson who had their first performance at the festival. P. Haapanen, the Musical Director, has also spared his precious time for translating Finnish to English.
With many general public attending, 4 works were introduced by showing a part of scores and graphic description by using a monitor. Composers showed interest in western pieces but most of the audience was attracted to ones with Japanese instruments.

It was a great experience to have conversations with the Musical Directors of two renowned music festivals and to exchange ideas with Finnish composers of the same age. Although Finland participates in EU most of the students study abroad, at the center of Europe as in Germany and France. However, I recognized from the conversation with them that even though they are very well keeping up with and aware of the latest mode of those countries, they actually search for their own expression keeping some distance from them. Many of Japanese composers may feel sympathy for their mentality.
Having taken a look of the Finnish music circumstances, I have realized that the support system for musicians are very well settled in Finland both with hard and soft side. It is worth experiencing not only for artists but also for people supporting music. There are yet many things to be learned from Finland.
It was surprising that people have shown very much interest in Japanese instruments at the presentation. They were very curious of unknown instruments, at the same time, they were attracted with the instruments which originally include "noise" that has now become a leading factor of contemporary music. Since my activity as the conductor of Ensemble Muromachi has been introduced at the presentation, I will continue it in order to respond to their request any time
It was also a valuable experience to meet Ensemble Adapter and other Finnish musicians of my age; their constructive manner has stimulated me. I will keep in touch with them.

Creator Information