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.
Elected a Steinway Artist in 2012, British pianist Simon Callaghan’s
performances both in prestigious concert halls and in the recording studio have earned him a reputation as an exciting young artist of the new generation. Highlights of recent seasons include Rachmaninov’s 2nd Concerto at Birmingham Symphony Hall, a performance with the RLPO at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, St David’s Hall Cardiff, Wigmore Hall, concert tours of Malaysia and South Korea and broadcasts on BBC Radio, ITV and BBC TV.
His rapidly expanding discography has attracted great critical acclaim, his disc of English Piano Music being described by one reviewer as “an essential purchase…one can ask nothing more from a CD…stunning playing” (John France 2009). Simon will record both Brahms ‘Cello Sonatas with the award-winning ‘cellist James Barralet (also for SOMM) for release in 2013, and will tour the UK with this programme following the release.
Simon’s busy schedule has most recently included a five-week residency at the Banff Centre (Canada), performances with Timothy and Samuel West, Prunella Scales, two-piano recitals in Japan and chamber music with Jack Liebeck, Tim Hugh (LSO) and the Carducci, Sacconi and Maggini Quartets. He gave masterclasses and recitals in Malaysia and was also appointed Head of Piano of the Ingenium Acadamy (International Music Summer School). As a strong chamber music enthusiast, he is Artistic Director of the internationally-renowned Conway Hall Sunday Concerts, the longest running chamber music series in Europe. In addition to curating this prestigious programme of concerts he will also perform the complete cycle of Beethoven trios at Conway Hall in 2012/13.
The coming season will see Simon return to Birmingham Symphony Hall for a performance of Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody. He will also embark on a project with violinist Midori Komachi, entitled ‘Delius and Gaugiun: A Conversation’, featuring performances of violin sonatas by Debussy, Ravel and Delius and culminating in a recording in Chicago in 2013. He will also give a rare performance of Michael Tippett’s piano concerto and collaborate with soprano, Ilona Domnich in recitals of French and Russian songs. In May 2013 he will appear at the inaugural Whittington International Chamber Music Festival, which will programme all the chamber music of Brahms in ten days and which will feature eminent young musicians, hand-picked from all over 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. Simon has also taken awards at the Bromsgrove International Competition, Jean Françaix Concours (Paris) and the Liverpool Young Musician of the Year, and is grateful to the Craxton Memorial Trust and to his sponsors for their continued support.
was born in Japan but is now based in London, where he came in 1997 to study piano with Yonty Solomon and Andrew Ball, composition with Edwin Roxburgh and fortepiano with David Ward at the Royal College of Music. On completion of his studies, he received the RCM’s The Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Rosebowl presented by HRH The Prince of Wales. From 2007 to 2009, he was a Constant & Kit Lambert Junior Fellow (RCM) supported by the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
As a soloist, he has appeared on many concert platforms including the Wigmore Hall, Tokyo Opera City, the South Bank Centre, the Fairfield Halls, Hamburg Laeiszhalle and Steinway Halls in London, Hamburg and Tokyo. He has also performed at festivals in Bath, Cheltenham and Salzburg and has given recitals in the UK, Japan, Austria, Germany, Portugal and Italy. He is an active chamber musician in an extensive range of work, working with such eminent artists as Raphael Wallfisch and Tara Helen O’Connor.
For three consecutive summers from 2008 to 2010, he was invited to join the summer masterclass at the Banff Centre (Canada) as a collaborative pianist. In 2010, he appeared for the second time in the Husum Rarities of Piano Repertoire Festival in Germany to great critical acclaim. In May 2011, Takenouchi was featured on the critically-acclaimed BBC Four documentary The Prince and the Composer on the life and music of Parry alongside HRH The Prince of Wales. In addition to his performing schedule, he returns to give masterclasses at the Poros International Piano Academy in Greece every summer.
Takenouchi’s discography includes the world première recordings of works by James Dillon (with Noriko Kawai, NMC), Edwin Roxburgh (NMC) and Jeremy Dale Roberts (LORELT), as well as a debut solo CD Cosmos Haptic: Contemporary Piano Music from Japan (LORELT), and most recently Husum Festival Highlights 2011 (Danacord). 2012 saw two further releases: Delius’ orchestral works arranged for two pianos by various contemporaries (Somm Records with Simon Callaghan), and two piano concertos with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Dutton Epoch).
Takenouchi has worked with many leading musicians such as Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Emanuel Ax, Imogen Cooper, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Robert Levin, Sir Roger Norrington and Howard Shelley.
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