The Asia Ensemble is founded in 2002 by a Japanese composer Minoru Miki who organized the most excellent soloists of high-grade Asian traditional instruments.
The Ensemble had its start at the final concert of the "Asia-Silkroad Music Festival" in Okazaki, Japan on October 4, 2002. Miki composed "Origin", a quintet as the 20 minutes concluding piece, and world premiered by five most excellent Asian soloists. Also they performed the best solo pieces, duets and trios in different combination.
The performers in 2003~07 were:
- Chinese Pipa : Jing YANG
- Japanese (21-string) Koto : Reiko KIMURA
- Japanese Shakuhachi : Seizan SAKATA
- Chinese Da San Xian : Jian Rong FEI
- Mongolian Matouchin (can play by Chinese Erfu) : Ayush BAT-ERDENE
After founding the "Orchestra Asia" in 1993 combined Japanese-Chinese-Korean traditional orchestras, Miki composed five orchestral pieces and paid much efforts to grade up the orchestra as the artistic director. However some instruments are too poor on its function and also technical levels are pretty low. In addition to their musical reasons, he couldn't adjust his attitude to other officer's political and economical situation. After eight years activity Miki determined to leave the orchestra in early 2002.
On the other hand, in 1996 Miki met an excellent pipa player, Yang Jing who firstly joined the tour of the Orchestra Asia. Without delay, he composed a Pipa Concerto for her, and premiered at the Nagano Olympic Arts Program in next year, and got much success. Also he already had many activities with Seizan Sakata, shakuhachi player, and Reiko Kimura, 21-string koto player through "Pro Musica Nipponia" which he found in 1964 and his private "Yui Ensemble". Then in 2001, Miki made concert tour by Yang Jing, Sakata and Kimura successfully. Finally he decided to organize the "Asia Ensemble" in 2002 adding several excellent soloists of Asian traditional instruments..
For this Asia Ensemble, Minoru Miki (http://www.m-miki.com) is acting as the Artistic director, and Yang Jing (http://www.yangjingmusic.com) is acting as the Music Director.
In 2003, the Asia Ensemble had its four performing schedule in Japan from the end of September to October 14. Also the East West Center in Hawaii University is invited the Ensemble in January 2004.
In 2004, the Asia Ensemble had three concerts in Japan. Specially on November 9 at TsudaÅ@Hall, the Ensemble had successful debut in Tokyo by the best repertory including four quintet works below as well as solos, duet, trio:
Minoru Miki's founded piece Origin in 2002, Yoko Sato's V seasons, Martin Regan's riverrun, Minoru Miki's Wa-Wa for improvisation.
After the concert Prof. Shukoh Mizuno, a famous composer, said that A miracle ensemble the best concert that I attend within these years I could meat a historical moment. These words are very honor for the Ensemble. All audience satisfied and moved by the performance. At the same time the CD Asia Ensemble - Origin has released. After these facts, Miki commissioned Mizuno a new piece for concerts in next year.
Without delay Prof. Shukoh Mizuno composed Utage, and Asia Ensemble premiered the piece on October 12, 2005 at Ecorma Hall, Tokyo with main repertory. Activity of the Ensemble in 2006 was centering the Yatsugadake Hokuto International Music festival which Miki founded for the aim of East-West cooperation in every aspect of music. However according the world premiere of Ai-en (To Die for Love) which commissioned by New National Opera House of Japan and concluded Minoru Miki's eight opera series along 1500 years Japanese History, he couldn't add new repertory for the Asia Ensemble.
Now, Miki and several composers are preparing new pieces for coming concert series in 2008 of the Ensemble. Other Asian instruments will be added temporary by the most excellent players of each instrument. But specially, Ms. Yoko Sato is composing a new piece for the Festival Vancouver 07. Performances at the Festival Vancouver in August 2007 will be the climax of early five years of the Asia Ensemble.