Asuka Kakitani CD Release Concert
featuring Eri Isomura
Composer Asuka Kakitani presents a CD release concert for her new album, Twelve Months in Minnesota, for solo percussion featuring Eri Isomura. The album contains twelve movements inspired by nature in Minnesota, which capture the spirit and feel of particular moments from each month of the year.
“A musical impressionist and supreme colorist” (Hot House Magazine) aptly characterizes the Japanese-born composer Asuka Kakitani. Her deep love for nature and animals inspires Kakitani to transform her imagination into epic musical stories that DownBeat Magazine described as brimming with “sumptuous positivity and organic flow.”
She is the founder of the 18-piece ensemble the Asuka Kakitani Jazz Orchestra, and their first recording Bloom has been featured on the international radio program PRI’s The World, acknowledged as one of the best debut albums of the year by DownBeat Magazine Critics’ Poll and NPR Music Jazz Critics’ Poll, and All About Jazz called it “absolutely superb.”
After she relocated to Minnesota from Brooklyn, NY in 2016, she co-founded the Twin Cities Jazz Composers’ Workshop, which aims to foster creative and forward-looking composition for the modern jazz orchestra in the Twin Cities area. Kakitani also co-founded and conducts Inatnas Orchestra with her husband, composer/trombonist JC Sanford, that features both of their music and some of the best jazz musicians in the twin cities area. Kakitani has been the recipient of grants and awards including the BMI Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize, the Manny Albam Commission, the Jerome Fund for New Music from the American Composers Forum, Brooklyn Arts Council, two Composer Assistance Grants from the American Music Center, and recently was awarded a 2019 McKnight Composer Fellowship.
Eri Isomura is a freelance performer and instructor of piano, percussion, and marimba from St. Paul, Minnesota. She frequently performs in orchestras, recitals, choirs, musicals, and recording projects around the Twin Cities. In 2021 she released the album "Musical Moments for Cello and Marimba" with her father Sachiya Isomura, a former cellist in the Minnesota Orchestra. Eri is a founding member of 10th Wave Chamber Collective, a Twin Cities-based ensemble featuring classical music of the 20th and 21st centuries, which is serving as MPR Class Notes Artists for 21-22. She is also an Ensemble Artist of the Heartland Marimba Ensemble. She has recently performed in a variety of musical styles with the Minnesota Opera, Champagne Confetti, Zeitgeist, Border CrosSing, Dubuque Symphony, and others.
While studying at the Boston Conservatory, she was a member of the New England Philharmonic and performed with the Brookline Symphony Orchestra. She performed for the "Times Two Series," a new music initiative based in Boston. She performed in John Luther Adams' piece Inuksuit, a percussion piece written for the outdoors at the Tippett Rise Music Festival, Bravo! Vail Music Festival, and Aspen Music Festival. She has commissioned and/or premiered works for marimba by local composers such as Asako Hirabayashi, Michael Maiorana, Ian A Cook, Elwyn A Fraser Jr., Jonathan Posthuma, and others.
As an educator, Eri is on the percussion faculty at St. Olaf College, is a percussion class teacher at Yinghua Academy and a board member of the Percussive Arts Society Minnesota Chapter. As a piano instructor she is a member of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association as well as the Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum. She has been a guest panelist for the Minnesota Orchestra Pre-Concert Talk and St. Olaf Arts Entrepreneurship, as well as a guest on music podcasts.
Isomura’s diverse musical background began with classical piano with Jean Krinke and percussion with Robert Adney. She continued her percussion and marimba studies with David Hagedorn, and drumset with Phil Hey at St. Olaf College, where she received her B.M. in Percussion Performance with Distinction in 2011. She was a featured performer for the St. Olaf Orchestra Senior Soloists Concert (2011), Masterworks Festival Honors Recital (2010), and the MacPhail Center of Arts Concerto and Aria Competition (2007). She completed her M.M. in Percussion Performance at The Boston Conservatory under the tutelage of Keith Aleo, Doug Perkins, Samuel Z Solomon, and Nancy Zeltsman.
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