With their quartet, founded in 2005, they wish to convey the pleasure of chamber music, that’s why they chose “Piacere”, which means ‘pleasure’ or ‘joy’ in Italian, for the ensemble’s name. After about one year of preparation, they gave their first public concert in the Tokyo Performing Arts Festival in March 2006 organized by the Japan Federation of Musicians. This debut concert received high acclaim. In autumn 2006 they started the “Shostakovich Project”, which presents two regular concerts a year. While successively performing all string quartets of Shostakovich, each concert introduces a work by a foreign composer (except from Shostakovich) and a Japanese composer and so actively promotes the contemporary repertoire for string quartet.
- 1st Violin Yasuko Ohtani
- After graduating from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Yasuko Otani finished the doctoral course of that same university. After an engagement as concert master of the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, she currently is holding a position as solo concert master in the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ohtani attracted attention by being the first female violinist in Japan, who performed three violin concertos (Mendelssohn, Stravinsky, Lalo) in one night (1988). While giving recitals in Japan and overseas, she is regularly making appearances with various orchestras and on television and radio. Furthermore, Ohtani is putting forth effort in the field of chamber music and contemporary music. In her manifold activities she is supported by a great number of fans. Yasuko Ohtani’s solo recital at Suntory Hall (Main Hall) in 1999 was sold out and left a fascinated audience. Among her CDs “Fantasie La Traviata” “Yasuko Ohtani Plays Chaconne” has been released by Sony. Yasuko Ohtani is a professor of the Tokyo College of Music.
- 2nd Violin Machio Saito
- After graduating from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Machia Saito became a member of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in 1986, where he is at present holding a position as Vorspieler of the 1st violins. His first solo recital was held in 1991. Apart from his independent recital series “Viologue” (violin+dialogue), he performs as a soloist and in many chamber music ensembles all over Japan such as the “Trio Merveilles” (with the pianist Hiromi Matsuura) and the “Matthias Musicum Ensemble”. He moreover works as a conductor for youth orchestras and gives concerts on Asian folk instruments (Batohkin and Kohkin). His recording of Schönbergs “Pierrot Lunaire” was released by the TaRaGa Label.
Machia Saito is a part-time professor of the Tokyo College of Music.
- Viola Yuki Hyakutake
- After graduation from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Yuki Hyakutake finished the master course of that same university. Her debut recital was held in 1975. Since then she has made numerous appearances in various musical fields – from orchestral music to chamber music, solo concerts and recordings. Until 1999 she was holding a position as principal viola of Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. She appeared in music festivals in Japan with artists such as Karl Leister and Ulrich Koch amongst others. She has performed many premieres of works by Japanese composers and contemporary music and due to her performance at the Japan Music Competition (section: composition) in 1999 was awarded the jury’s special prize.
At present she is a member of Tokyo Sinfonietta. She is a professor of the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music. Her teaching activities include positions at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and Tokyo College of Music.
- Cello Masaharu Kanda
- Masaharu Kanda studied with Yoritoyo Inoue at the Toho Gakuen University. In 1973 he won the 1st prize in the 42nd Japan Music Competition. Between 1982 and 1990 he was holding a position as principal cello in the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. Since 1982 he was a member of the New Arts String Quartet, which was awarded the 4th Hidafurukawa Music Encouragement Award in 1992, the Grand Prize of the Japan Arts Festival in 1994 and the 12th Nakajima Kenzo Award in 1995. As a soloist, he won the 11th Nakajima Kenzo Award in 1992. Masaharu Kanda is regularly appearing in major festivals of contemporary music in Japan and has won high reputation as a soloist. At present, he is a professor of the Tokyo College of Music and a lecturer at the Toho Gakuen University.
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975): String Quartet No.1~No.15
Ivan Fedele (*1953 / Italy): String Quartet No. 2 (1987)
Ivan Fedele (*1953 / Italy): String Quartet No. 3 (1999)
Gian Francesco Malipiero (1882-1973 / Italy): String Quartet No.8 “Per Elisabetta” (1964)
Aulis Sallinen (*1935 / Finland): String Quartet No. 3 (1969)
Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998 / Russia): String Quartet No. 3” (1983)
Peter Sculthorpe (*1929 / Australia): String Quartet No. 8 (1969)
Alexander von Zemlinsky (1871-1942 / Austria): String Quartet No.1(1896)
Hikaru Hayashi (*1931): String Quartet “Legende” (1998/90)
Toshi Ichiyanagi (*1933): String Quartet No. 2 “Interspace” (1986)
Shin-ichiro Ikebe (*1943): STRATA V (1995)
Yoshiro Irino (1921-1980): String Quartet No.2 (1957)
Michio Mamiya (*1929): String Quartet No.3 (1999)
Teizo Matsumura (1929-2007): String Quartet (1996)
Akira Miyoshi (*1933): String Quartet No. 1 (1962)
Akira Miyoshi (*1933): String Quartet No. 2 (1967)
Joji Yuasa (*1929): Projection II for string quartet (1996)