– 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. In 2019, the duo held its Tenth Anniversary Recital to a sold-out audience at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall.
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 the following year, the duo was invited to the National Cherry Blossom Festival and performed at John F. Kennedy Center as well as the residence of the Japanese ambassador to the United States in Washington, D.C. They were also resident artists at the Los Andes University in Columbia in 2018 and at the Harrison House in 2020.
Since 2015, the duo has commissioned a suite of pieces based on The Tale of Heike – one of the masterpieces of Japanese literature – to Daron Hagen, and in 2022-2023, this suite will be released from Naxos label.
About the duo’s name
Appassionato Mov.III (composed by Daron Hagen)
commissioned by Duo YUMENO (2015)
Hikaru Tamaki concertizes regularly as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player in the US and Japan. He served as the principal cellist of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and was a member of the Freimann String Quartet from 2001 until 2013. Solo performances with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic have included numerous major concertos in the cello repertoire. Tamaki was a prizewinner in the prestigious All Japan Viva Hall Cello Competition in 2000.
During his annual visits to Japan, he has given solo performances, lecture concerts and chamber concerts. He was a member of the Arcadia Piano Trio and performed together with them at various venues in Japan and the U.S., including the United Nations. He has given a lecture concert at Gakushuin Women’s College in Tokyo, and his activities have been featured in the media such as the Yomiuri and Kyoto Shinbun newspapers. In 2008, he released his first solo album, which includes the works of J.S. Bach and Toshiro Mayuzumi.
In 2008, he began collaborations with Yoko Reikano Kimura (koto/shamisen) under the moniker Duo YUMENO. They have given concerts and workshops at various venues such as Carnegie Hall, John F. Kennedy Center, University of Cambridge and Princeton University. The duo was awarded the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program grant in 2014, and in the following year, received the Aoyama Baroque Saal Award.
From 2016, he has served as the principal cellist of the Berkshire Opera Festival and is also a member of the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Allentown Symphony Orchestra. He has performed in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, Town Hall and Fisher Performing Arts Center.
Born in Kyoto, Tamaki’s studies in Japan were with Noboru Kamimura and Peter Seidenberg. Studies in the United States began at the Eastman School of Music, where he was named a George Eastman Scholar, and continued at Rice University and Northwestern University for his graduate degree. His teachers were Paul Katz and Hans Jorgen Jensen. Hikaru Tamaki website