Keiko Fujiie, born in 1963 in Kyoto, is an award-winning composer whose music is frequently performed both in Japan and internationally.
After graduating at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, she
completed her postgraduate studies at the same institution.
She is among the very few Japanese composers to have twice won the coveted Otaka Prize awarded by the NHK Symphony Orchestra for the previous year's outstanding symphonic composition; in 1995 for Beber for Orchestra and in 2000 for Guitar Concerto No.2 Koisucho.
She has composed a number of pieces for guitar, many of them for the distinguished Japanese guitarist (also her husband) Kazuhito Yamashita.
Fujiie was presented with the Kenzo Nakajima Award in 1996 for her monologue opera Nina de Cera.
Support from the Asian Cultural Council resulted in a residency in New York for several months in 1992-93, where she returned in 1998 to premiere In Their Shoes, a music and dance collaboration.
From 1998-1999 she served as composer-in-residence for Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa.
Her commissions include Academic Festival Overture for the hundredth anniversary of Kyoto University, the double concerto Kyoto: Reverberation for the Kyoto Protocol Treaty in 1997 and Piano Concerto No.1 Memories of January, composed for the seventieth anniversary of the Japan Music Competition in 2001.
Fujiie was asked to write the compulsory piece for participants in the Fifth Musashino-Tokyo International Organ Competition of 2004 and At the Tomb of Fra Angelico for Organ and Orchestra (also a commission) was composed to be performed by the winner of this same competition in 2006.
Her Guitar Concerto No.3 Autumn Reverie was premiered in Seoul, 2011.
Since 2001-2014 a major focus for Fujiie had been organizing the guitar quintet Kazuhito Yamashita Family Quintet, for whom she also composed.
Her work Kasane was their main repertoire and typifies the music of a bygone era. This quintet looked to the risorgimento of the quintessential and older musical traditions of both Europe and Japan when such music was known and valued, and whose echoes can still be heard in the classic Japanese 11th century novel The Tale of Genji.
In this piece, four guitars, multi-layering with shifting tonal colors, represent the various plucked stringed instruments of old Japan.
Fujiie had made 3 CDs with the Kazuhito Yamashita Family Quintet and had been invited along with them to many music festivals such as the Rome International Guitar Festival in 2004, the Cordoba Guitar Festival in 2007 and 2011, the Open Guitar Festival 2011 in the Czech Republic, and so on.
Fujiie also composes for orchestra and choir and has also written chamber music and opera. One area of research interest is Gagaku, the ancient court music of Japan, and she also composes for Gagaku ensemble.
Since 2015, Fujiie has been working on her new opera A Vermillion Calm and also on Aspects of
Hamlet, a collaborative work with a choreographer/dancer Abél
©Keiko Fujiie (all rights reserved)