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Daron Hagen – Heike Quinto

‘We came up with the idea of creating a suite of koto-cello duo pieces inspired by the female characters of The Tale of the Heike and decided to commission Daron Hagen, who is a renowned composer of operas, to bring his musical vision to create a work that is as grand and emotionally complex as the Japanese medieval epic.

In addition to the unique sounds of the Japanese koto and cello, the music is layered with various textures of voices, such as traditional style singing and a wide variety of vocal effects, as well as pre-recorded materials. It was a challenge and a joy to combine these elements in a kind of symphonic tapestry.’


Daron Aric HAGEN (b. 1961)
Heike Quinto

Yoko Reikano Kimura, Voice, Koto • Hikaru Tamaki, Voice, Cello
Daron Aric Hagen, Electro-acoustics

Daron Hagen is a multi-award-winning creative polymath whose work is internationally acclaimed for its impeccable craftsmanship, social conscience and emotional accessibility. Embracing the Japanese medieval text The Tale of the Heike, Hagen has brought his musical vision as an opera composer to create in Heike Quinto a work that is as grand and emotionally complex as the original on which it is based. Themed around the Buddhist law of impermanence, the story is told through its female protagonists. The unique combination of cello and Japanese koto is layered with a wide variety of vocal textures and effects alongside pre-recorded material helping to create a compelling and expressive narrative.

Listen to an extract from Heike Quinto No. 3, ‘Misterioso’:
I. Kogō and Takafusa
About the Artists

New York-based Duo YUMENO creates a singular fusion of sound, inspired by tradition but retaining a contemporary sensibility. A proponent of new music, the duo has commissioned works that explore the dialogue between classical Japanese and Western music. Koto/shamisen player and singer Yoko Reikano Kimura was awarded First Prize at the prestigious tenth Kenjun Memorial National Koto Competition. Cellist Hikaru Tamaki is currently a member of the Berkshire Opera Festival Orchestra and the Albany Symphony.

Daron Hagen is a composer, performer, writer and film-maker. His catalogue of works, which includes commissions from the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra, comprises twelve operas, five symphonies, twelve concertos, dozens of instrumental works, and over 500 art songs and cycles. He has been a faculty member of Bard College, the City College of New York, the Chicago College of Performing Arts, the Curtis Institute of Music, New York University, and the Princeton Atelier.

More recordings of works by Daron Hagen
Orson Rehearsed
Mulero • Frankenberry • Orth
Fifth House Ensemble • Zahab
‘There is something about world premiere recordings; they have a particular vibrancy, and this release has that in spades. From every angle, this is a sure-fire winner. I just want to hear more of Hagen’s operas.’
‘There is no let-up in quality with the Four Dickinson Songs, where Hagen catches the sparkle in each poem, including an extraordinary “Wild Nights”, and delivers its punchline with a musical solution that turns out to be unexpected—and right.’
Complete Piano Trios
Finisterra Trio
‘If this collection of [Daron Hagen's] work is any indication of what we have in store for us in the future, he’s one for the history books and a candidate for my composers’ Hall of Fame.’
Shining Brow
Orth • Harris • Frankenberry • Curran • Valby • Lyons
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus
‘To my mind this is a truly inspired and dramatically convincing opera.’
MusicWeb International

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