Mari Takano got her first piano lessons from her mother at the age of three and wrote her first composition at five. After completing composition studies under Mutsuo Shishido at the Toho Gakuen College of Music, she went on to study in Germany at the College of Music, Freiburg, under Brian Ferneyhough, and at the College of Music and Performing Arts, Hamburg, under Gyorgy Ligeti. She graduated in 1988.
Since the 80's, Mari Takano has been awarded numerous prizes. Encouraged by Gyoergy Ligeti, she overcame Avantgarde influences and developed her own original style. In 2002, BIS released a CD devoted to her works ("Women's Paradise", BIS 1238), which earned international acclamation and has been broadcasted in several countries of Europe, in the USA and Australia. In the same year, she stayed three months as a guest composer at the North-Western University (USA) on a scholarship by the Japanese Education Ministry. Mari Takano has received numerous commissions for new works, for example from the City of Hamburg (1993 and 1995), from the American Embassy in Tokyo (1995), from the Kanagawa Arts Festival (1997) as well as from various performers.
She teaches as lecturer at the Toho Junior College of Music and Bunkyo University, and held lectures at the New York University and at the Roosevelt University.
"As I mentioned before, it smells of good music." (Gyoergy Ligeti on "Women's Paradise")
"Gripping, however, was Mari Takano's "abstract opera" "Women's Paradise", a synthesizer collage in for fascinating movements..." (Hamburger Abendblatt, June 20th 1991)
"The "Blumen-Arie" with its hints of Renaissance-music and its quiet mood proved to be a superb composition" (Kakinuma Toshiko in "on-stage weekly",December 1997)
"I have waited for this record! Far from any worn-out academism and avantgarde, this music, in all its hidden severity, succeeds triumphantly in creating a true feminine world" (Takaku Satoru in "Record-Geijutsu", 2003)
"Mari Takano has immediately created a conception of her music that is as spectacular as it is original...(Having finished the CD...) one leaves this energetic lady with all one's senses..." (Jean Vermeil in "Repertoire", 2003)
"Women's Paradise stands out in its daring use of patterns and voices. It successfully blends synthetic and natural sounds, creating a sound world which is absolutely unique." (Frank Mallet in "Le Monde de la Musique", May 2003)
"No Japanese composer until now has succeeded in finding a strategy towards the "exotic" that suffers neither from commitment nor from nonchalance. It took Mari Takano to define this strategy." (Seiji Chouki in "Record-Geijutsu", 2003)
"Takano's tremendous versatility and wide range of ideas are a strong part of the appeal. Women's Paradise is highly inspired, iconoclastic music that is pioneering an international sense; Takano follows her will and her whim, and they take her, and us, to places we have never been before. BIS' Mari Takano: Women's Paradise is a product that only could have come from a woman and her sense of intuition, and its consistently high level of innovation puts many of her male contemporaries on the defensive." (Uncle Dave Lewis in "All Media Guide", 2007)
"The Japanese composer Mari Takano connects diverse, even antagonistic styles from Schoenberg to Miles Davis, from Bjork to Stockhausen, and makes them act upon another in a thoroughly entertaining fashion." (Hartmut Lueck in "Klassik heute", 2009)
gThe "LigAlien" series is composed in homage to Ligeti. Here, Takano mixes quotations and structural idiosyncrasies of her teacher with "alien" ? that is to say, her own musical structures; gradually, Ligeti's music vanishes, while the "Alien", her different music, gets the better of the music...h
(Hartmut Lueck in "Klassik heute", 2012)
gThere is something in common between Mari Takano's music and Haruki Murakami's short stories: a fascinating mixture of familiar and unfamiliar features, a mental landscape of an urban labyrinth. Both share also a passion for jazz music.
The title of the cd LigAlien is quite ambitious: is it possible to develop the heritage of Ligeti towards something even stranger expression?...
When the other Ligeti's pupil, the Korean born Unsuk Chin, has taken the challenge to confront the complexities of Ligeti in an open battlefield, Takano has chosen a different path. She takes some distance from the neurotic genius-maestro with respect and with a relaxed smile...
Among the the pieces of the cd my favourite one is Full Moon for violin and electronics. Perhaps the fact that it's written for Mari Kimura, a virtuoso of experimental music, has pushed Takano to take even more risks than usual: especially the "machine" quality of the quiet but grotesque coda is a fresh and exciting homage to Björk.h
iJuha T. Koskinen in Finnish online music review "Amfion" (www.amfion.fi), February 2012j
gThe title of the disc and that of four of the pieces on it, LigAlien, refers to her idea of implanting ealien' DNA (hers) into one of Ligeti's works. The work in question is the Vivacissimo molto ritmico from the Horn Trio. LigAlien I and II both take this work as a jumping off point, each then very much going their own way. Both are trios, but for different ensembles than Ligeti chose. Takano's approach is episodic, and soon leaves the Ligeti behind. It is highly idiomatic for the instruments she chooses?I was continually struck by the richness of the soundworld in this music and sometimes had to listen hard to reassure myself that no overdubbing had been used...
The disc presents an engaging composer, on top of her chosen eclectic style, in a diverse and thoroughly engaging collection of music. g
(Jeremy Marchant in g Fanfareh, 2012)
gSurprising and exciting, it gives me the feeling as if my feet feel lighter and my whole body is pushed irresistibly forward: Such are the new works by Mari Takano, pleasant to listen to and yet a whirlpool of new and interesting ideas. If you allow yourself to embark whole-heartedly on Takano's uncommon and highly original style, you will, smilingly, find yourself transformed by it... In this CD again, it is remarkable how Takano, in her own unmistakble way, succeeds in transforming a charming mixture of musical material with a familiar ring into a totally original musical world.h
( Takehiro Yamano in "Record-Geijutsu", 2012)
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