Since meeting in 2003 at the Royal College of Music at the recommendation of the late Yonty Solomon, Simon Callaghan and Hiroaki Takenouchi have had a thriving duo partnership during which time they have given concerts not only throughout the UK but also in Europe and Japan.
During that time they have developed a wide-ranging and extensive repertoire and their engagements have included gala performances with principals from the English National Opera. Their recent volume of Delius’s orchestral works in arrangements for two pianos (to coincide with his anniversary year) on the SOMM label has been very well received, International Record Review (June 2012) describing their playing as “sparkling and sincere” and BBC Music Magazine (July 2012) saying:
“Simon Callaghan and Hiroaki Takenouchi… play with such love, panache, and exact synchronisation”
A second disc of Delius arrangements will be released in 2013, completing the set of world premiere recordings.
As well as playing all the mainstream works for both piano–four hands and two pianos, the Parnassius Piano Duo are particularly keen advocates of lesser-known repertoire, and have recently included works by Parry, Medtner and Sterndale Bennett in their recital programmes.
In addition to their duo career, both Simon and Hiro are in constant demand internationally as soloists and chamber musicians, performing throughout the UK, Europe, Canada, the US and Japan.
Recognised as an exciting performer of the new generation, Steinway Artist Simon Callaghan’s
recent schedule has included appearances at Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, and St David’s Hall, Cardiff. His engagements have taken him all over the UK, throughout Europe and to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand. He has also broadcast on BBC Radio 3, ITV and BBC Television. From September 2013 he will take up the Anthony Saltmarsh Junior Fellowship at the Royal College of Music.
Simon Callaghan’s busy performing schedule has included two residencies at the Banff Centre (Canada), rare performances of Michael Tippett’s Piano Concerto and the Third Concerto of Nikolay Medtner (the first in the UK since 1946). He has also collaborated with Prunella Scales, Ilona Domnich, Timothy West, Jack Liebeck, Thomas Gould, Raphael Wallfisch and the Maggini, Sacconi, Carducci and Coull Quartets in a broad range of repertoire. Simon is a founder member of the Werther Ensemble, brought together at the inaugural Whittington International Chamber Music Festival 2013. Future projects for this ensemble include recitals throughout the UK and a complete cycle of the chamber music of Brahms.
As a teacher, Simon is Head of Piano of the Ingenium Music Academy (Winchester), a member of the faculty at Harrow School, and has given masterclasses around the world, most recently in Malaysia and Thailand. He is also Artistic Director of the renowned Conway Hall Sunday Concerts (London), the longest-running chamber music series in Europe.
Following his studies at Chetham’s School of Music with Bernard Roberts, Simon was awarded a full scholarship to study with Yonty Solomon at the Royal College of Music, from where he graduated with first class honours and won numerous prizes.
Heralded by The Times as “just the sort of champion the newest of new music needs”, while being praised as “impeccable in his pianism and unfailing in his idiomatic grasp” by Gramophone, Takenouchi’s
curiosity and a natural penchant for integrity makes his playing and vast repertoire unique amongst his generation of pianists: his love for the music of classical masters – particularly Haydn, Beethoven and Chopin – sits side by side with his passion for the music of Medtner and Rachmaninov, lesser-known British composers such as Sterndale Bennett and Parry, and the contemporary repertoire.
As a soloist, he has recently appeared on many concert platforms including the Wigmore Hall, Tokyo Opera City, the South Bank Centre. He has also performed at festivals in Bath, Cheltenham and Salzburg and given recitals in the UK, Japan, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy and Canada.
His future engagements will take him even further to the Far East, including performances in Singapore and Vietnam. His more unusual recent appearances include the Rarities of Piano Repertoire Festival in Husum (Germany) and the BBC Four documentary The Prince and the Composer on the life and music of Parry alongside HRH The Prince of Wales. Takenouchi’s discography includes Cosmos Haptic: Contemporary Piano Music from Japan (LORELT) as well as the world première recordings of works by James Dillon (NMC), Edwin Roxburgh (NMC) and Jeremy Dale Roberts (LORELT). 2012 saw the release of a highly acclaimed disc of piano concertos by Catoire and Sherwood (another world première recording) with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Dutton Epoch).
Since 2012 Takenouchi has been teaching piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Glasgow). He also returns every summer to give masterclasses at the Poros International Piano Academy (Greece) and Ingenium International Music Academy (UK).
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