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Eiji Kitamura and Taichi Hiratsuka improvise classical and jazz at Tokyo Tech Concert Series

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August 5, 2019

On May 9, some 450 fortunate listeners filled the Digital Multipurpose Hall on Ookayama Campus for a magical evening of "The Spirit of Improvisation in Classical Music and Jazz Presented by Eiji Kitamura* and Taichi Hiratsuka."

Performers (from left): Violinist Issei Kurihara, pianist Kazuhide Takahama, clarinetist Eiji Kitamura, pianist and organizer Taichi Hiratsuka

Performers (from left): Violinist Issei Kurihara, pianist Kazuhide Takahama, clarinetist Eiji Kitamura,
pianist and organizer Taichi Hiratsuka

*
Kitamura, currently 90 years old, is a global legend on the jazz scene. After making his clarinet debut in 1951 and playing with the likes of Benny Goodman, he went on to appear at major international music festivals in Europe, the US, and Australia. He is also the son of the late Masajiro Kitamura, one of the inventors of the TYK radiotelephone who preceded Tokyo Tech's Dr. Kenjiro Takayanagi at Japan Broadcasting Corporation.

Young talents meet clarinet legend

The Tokyo Tech concert series, launched by the former Graduate School of Engineering in 2015 and carefully planned by the Institute's faculty members, features compositions that aim to inspire scientists continuously. While the objective is to provide unique content that represents the identity of the Institute and introduce young musical talent, the series occasionally welcomes special guest performers. This time, Tokyo Tech was honored to welcome clarinet legend Eiji Kitamura to its campus.

In the first half of the session, pianist Taichi Hiratsuka teamed up with violinist Issei Kurihara to play classical compositions by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy, Ravel, Kreisler, and Paganini while incorporating improvisational elements.

In the latter half, clarinetist Eiji Kitamura paired with pianist Kazuhide Takahama to play famous jazz pieces such as Memories of You, Moonlight Serenade, and The World Is Waiting. To complete the event, Hiratsuka and Kurihara joined Kitamura to play Fritz Kreisler's Liebesfreud.

Next session: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's principal flutist at Tokyo Tech

The Tokyo Tech Concert Series continues on September 12, when the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's principal flutist Walter Auer will be welcomed to the Institute. Auer will be holding a flute masterclass and concert for Tokyo Tech students and alumni.

Some may wonder where the connections lies between music and a science and technology university. However, considering that the likes of Johann Strauss II, his younger brother Josef, and Herbert von Karajan all studied at Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), the choice by a Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra member to pass on his knowledge to Tokyo Tech may be more evident than many realize.

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Contact

Gen-ichi Konishi

Associate Professor, School of Materials and Chemical Technology

Email gkonishi@polymer.titech.ac.jp

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