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 (Parnassius) 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 two volumes of Delius’s orchestral works in arrangements for two pianos (mostly world premiere recordings, to coincide with the composer’s anniversary year) on the SOMM label were warmly 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”. 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. Their own arrangement of Rachmaninov’s second symphony for two pianos will be premiered in London in 2017.
Steinway Artist Simon Callaghan performs internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. His recent tours have taken him to Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and, on two occasions, to the Banff Centre in Canada. He has performed at all of the UK’s major concert halls including Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and St David’s Hall Cardiff. 2017 will take Simon throughout the UK and to Italy, Holland and Switzerland.
Simon’s interest in rarely performed works has led to invitations to perform concerti by Françaix, Tippett and to give the first UK performance since 1946 of Medtner’s 3rd Concerto. His rapidly-expanding discography includes solo works by Sterndale Bennett, Parry and Sacheverell Coke. In 2017 he will release his debut concerto recording for Hyperion’s lauded Romantic Piano Concerto series: the first recordings of Roger Sacheverell Coke’s Concerti with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins.
Festival invitations have included Highgate, Whittington and Cervo Chamber Music. Callaghan is also regularly invited to perform on luxury cruise liners and has performed frequently on BBC radio and television. In chamber music he has collaborated with Jack Liebeck, Giovanni Guzzo, Tim Hugh, Thomas Gould, Raphael Wallfisch and the actors Timothy and Samuel West, and Prunella Scales. Contemporary music performances have included works by Joseph Phibbs, Julian Anderson and Kenneth Hesketh, and he was recently invited by the Royal College of Music to play Boulez’s ‘Dérive II’ as part of their ‘Variable Geometry’ series. His world premiere recording of Paul Patterson’s ‘Allusions’ for two violins and piano (with Midori Komachi and Sophie Rosa) will be released in 2017.
Simon puts great value on teaching and this season will give masterclasses, lead a course at Benslow Music and continue his work as Head of Piano at the Ingenium Academy (Winchester). In addition to his performing schedule, Callaghan is Director of Music at Conway Hall, where he oversees the longest-running chamber music series in Europe.
Hiroaki 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, lesser-known British composers such as Sterndale Bennett and Parry, and the contemporary repertoire.
As a soloist, he has appeared on many concert platforms including the Wigmore Hall, Tokyo Opera City and 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 more unusual recent projects include: the Rarities of Piano Repertoire Festival in Husum (Germany); a BBC Four documentary The Prince and the Composer on the life and music of Parry alongside HRH The Prince of Wales; BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week piano solo works by Sterndale Bennett broadcast April 2016, and the piano solo works of Alexander Campbell Mackenzie, also recorded for BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week which was broadcast in early February 2017.
Takenouchi’s discography includes Haydn: 4 Sonatas (Artalinna), 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).
The Russian composer Georgy Catoire’s music is somewhat neglected today but Hiroaki Takenouchi is a passionate advocate of his Piano Concerto and recorded the work with Martin Yates and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Their recording was released in 2012 on Dutton Epoch along with Percy Sherwood’s Piano Concerto. April 2017 sees the release of Takenouchi’s Sterndale Bennett/Schumann CD on Artalinna.
Since 2012 Takenouchi has been teaching piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Glasgow). He also returns every summer to give master classes at the Poros International Piano Academy (Greece) and Ingenium International Music Academy (UK).
Parnassius Piano Duo: Schubert Sonata in C major, D. 812, ‘Grand Duo’
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