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date: 22 August 2019

Tanaka, Karenlocked

  • Stephen Montague


(b Tokyo, April 7, 1961). Japanese composer. She began piano lessons at the age of four and formal composition lessons when she was ten. After finishing her compositional studies with Miyoshi at the Tōhō Gakuen School of Music, Tokyo (BA 1986), she moved to Paris on a French government scholarship to study with Murail and to work at IRCAM. In 1987 she won the Gaudeamus prize for Anamorphose. She studied with Berio in Florence in 1990–91, and in 1991–2 attended the IRCAM composition technology course. Her music is delicate and emotive, beautifully crafted, showing a refined ear for both detail and large, organic shapes. Her harmonic vocabulary is consonant without being tonal, and she is attracted by what she describes as ‘transformation of timbre in space, analogous to a gradual change of light refraction in crystals and prisms’ (for example, in Metallic Crystal and Crystalline II). Landscapes are another source of inspiration (...

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