Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus (Japan)
(Chifuru Matsubara, conductor)
Program: contemporary choral music and Japanese folk songs
The Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus (TPC) or *Tokyo konsei gassho-dan* is Japan's foremost independent professional choir (it has no specific relation to the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra). Founded in 1956, its members are all trained at conservatories of Japan and abroad, and the choir represents the highest level of Japanese choral music. The TPC is no doubt the busiest choir in Japan, having some 200 performances a year across the country, including c.50 appearances on TV and radio, often with Japanese and visiting orchestras.
Its repertoire ranges from Gregorian chant and Palestrina to Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Ligeti, Penderecki, Xenakis and Pärt, has also given premieres of distinguished composers including Einojuhani Rautavaara (Finland) in 1994, R. Murray Schafer (Canada) in 1997 and Chinary Ung (Cambodia-USA) in 1999. The TPC's numerous recordings of Japanese choral works have contributed to its international reputation. The choir has also toured abroad, to ASEAN countries in 1979, the USA (seven cities including New York and Los Angeles) in 1987, Europe at the invitation of the International Federation
of Choral Music (IFCM) in 1997, Finland and Estonia in 2001 and Canada in 2002.
Since its inception the TPC has commissioned about 170 works to Japanese composers such as Toru Takemitsu, Joji Yuasa, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Minao Shibata, Hikaru Hayashi and Michio Mamiya, and has recorded and regularly sung them. Its pioneering contribution to contemporary choral music has earned for the TPC's international reputation, and has been recognized by numerous awards such as the Art Festival Award of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the Mainichi Shimbun Performing Arts Award, the Ongaku-no-tomo sha Award and the Kyoto Music Award.
The TPC is proud of its Music Director, maestro Hiroyuki Iwaki, Conductor Laureate of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, Music Director and Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa and conductor of NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo. During the last decade the chorus has had successful concerts with European conductors: Paul Hillier in 1991 and 1992, Wolfdieter Maurer (Principal Guest Conductor) in 1993, 1996, 1998 ,2000 and 2002, John Alldis in 1994 and 1996, James Wood in 1995 and 1997 and Georg
Christoph Biller, Kantor of St. Thomas, Leipzig, in 1999. Denis Dupays,in 2005.
The choir now regularly works with Chifuru Matsuara (Principal Conductor) and Kenji Ohtani, studied in Finland and Germany respectively, as well as Nobuaki Tanaka, the founder and Conductor Laureate of the TPC.
Chifuru Matsubara, conductor, born in Nagano in 1951, he studied at Kunitachi College of Music, Tokyo, and Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, then attended masterclasses in Europe by E. Ericsson and D. O. Stenlund. He has conducted Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, Helsinki University Chorus and is guest conductor of Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Ellerhein Girls choir. He has researched plainchant in Finland since 1988 and has performed it with vocal ensemble Cetus Noster. Since 1997 he has been Principal Conductor of Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus.