– I was…deeply touched to hear instruments from two different cultures playing in such beautiful harmony and sounding completely compatible with each other. Duo YUMENO’s wonderful appeal comes not only from the unique combination of their instruments but from Kimura and Tamaki’s superb technique and impeccable ensemble work. ―
Yasuko Tazumi, Jury President, Kyoto Aoyama Music Award 2015
New York based koto / shamisen player and singer Yoko Reikano Kimura and cellist Hikaru Tamaki create a singular fusion sound, inspired by tradition but with a contemporary sensibility. Duo YUMENO’s repertoire includes a dynamic range of compositions – both traditional and contemporary – all of which explore the dialogue between classical Japanese and western music. Duo YUMENO champions works by contemporary American and Japanese composers, including Daron Hagen, Lou Harrison, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Minoru Miki, Marty Regan, Yoko Sato, Angel Lam, Elizabeth Brown, Takatomi Nobunaga, Kaito Nakahori and many others. In 2014, they were awarded the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program grant, and in 2015, received the Aoyama Baroque Saal Award. Their innovative activities have been featured in the media, like the New York Times, Chamber Music Magazine, New York Classical Review, Hōgaku Journal, NPR and WQXR. They have performed at prestigious venues such as John F. Kennedy Center, United Nation, Japan Society, New England Conservatory, Princeton University, University of Chicago, Clark Museum, George Nakashima Foundation, Rubin Museum and many others.
Kimura and Tamaki first collaborated at the Fort Wayne Cherry Blossom Festival in 2008 and since then, have been performing together regularly in Japan and the US. Between 2010 and 2013, they have presented the Kacho-fugetsu concert series, for which they commissioned works by Marty Regan over a four-year period. In recognition of this series, they were awarded the Janet Latz Professional Fellowship in 2011. This project was culminated in their debut CD, “Flowers, Birds, Wind, Moon” that was released in 2015.
Since 2010, they have held a successful annual tour to Japan that has extended to such cities as Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Nara. Some of the notable venues are the Tokyo National Museum, Owada Densho Hall (Tokyo), the Aoyama Music Memorial Hall (Kyoto), World Heritage Sites; Kasuga Grand Shrine, Yakushi-ji Temples, Toshodai-ji Temple and Ryoan-ji Temple. In 2013, the duo was invited to Turkey performing at the former Consulate General of Japan in Istanbul and at Namik Kemal University in Tekirdag. In 2014, they were featured at the opening concert of “Japan – CARICOM (14 Caribbean countries) Friendship Year 2014” – in Trinidad and Tobago. In 2015, the duo was invited to perform at Clare Hall, a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, to present a concert featuring classical and modern works for Japanese instruments. In 2016, they gave a feature performance at Chamber Music America’s national conference. In 2017, The duo was invited to the National Cherry Blossom Festival and gave a recital at John F. Kennedy Center and performed at the residence of the Japanese ambassador to the United States in Washington, D.C.
The duo is currently working on a project in which they commission a suite of pieces based on The Tale of Heike – one of the masterpieces of Japanese literature – to Daron Hagen.
The text reads 夢乃里無片雲 (In the land of dreams, not a single cloud exists.) The duo cherishes the scroll and took the first two characters for their name, hoping that their dreams will be as clear as a pure blue sky.