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Rakuto Kurano

Composer, Performer

Born: 2000 Website  


Rakuto Kurano is a versatile violinist, violist, pianist, composer, and conductor. He is a violinist in the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and makes regular appearances on violin, viola, & piano as a chamber/orchestral musician and soloist. He has held concertmaster positions in more than ten orchestras throughout his life, and also has orchestral experience performing for New Zealand Opera and Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Professional experience in a wide field of music ranges from Baroque to Contemporary. Experiences include touring the South Island in 2020 performing on Baroque viola with international artists Szabolcs Illés and Edita Keglerová, performing in eight cities as part of a quintet. As a contemporary music artist, he has been invited to the CANZ (Composers Association New Zealand) Nelson workshop as a violinist/violist in both 2019 and 2020 to perform new works written by living New Zealand composers. As of 2020, he has performed works by more than 30 New Zealand composers.

As a recording artist, he released two singles: Fantail in Tokyo and Violin Sonata No.1 and an album: Five Bagatelles, in 2020. He also has experience playing in recordings for other artists – including UK singers Aled Jones and Russell Watson.

Solo appearances include performances in Japan, Vietnam, and around New Zealand.

In 2019, he was invited to Vietnam as a guest artist to perform for the Consulate General of Japan in Ho Chi Minh City. The performance was in collaboration with Vietnamese celebrity singer Nguyễn Phi Hùng, and was broadcast by numerous Vietnamese news outlets, gaining national attention.

As a multi award-winning composer, his works have been performed by professional artists such as NZTrio, NZ Harp Duo, and Mark Menzies. His compositional style has been described as "Contemporary Classical", and his music often incorporates elements of EDM and Japanese pop music, whilst also integrating components of New Zealand music.

In 2021, he was commissioned by the Baroque Music Community and Educational Trust of New Zealand to compose a neo-baroque style work, Concerto Grosso, for the 2021 Baroque summer workshop and 11-concert national tour. The work was the final piece in the programme on the tour, and was met with a standing ovation. It was deemed a "splendid work" by Peter Mechen for Middle-C, in review of its Wellington performance.

As a conductor, he has premiered his own (violin & piano) Concerto No.1 with the UC Christchurch Youth Orchestra, also performing the solo violin/piano part. He also has experience conducting smaller ensembles and choirs.

As a virtuoso pianist, he has performed etudes by composers including Chopin, Kapustin, and Scriabin. He also enjoys performing the piano parts of his own compositions – most recently performing Fantail in Tokyo at the Christchurch Town Hall Douglas Lilburn Auditorium six times within a week, for the UC 2020 graduation ceremonies, upon special request from the UC Vice-Chancellor. He studied piano with Rosemary Stott QSM, Melanie Lina, and Michael Endres.

Currently also the Managing Director of Seasoning Ensemble, a professional chamber ensemble which he co-founded in March 2019. Seasoning Ensemble specialises in the performance of Baroque music, and Rakuto plays viola and violin in the group.

Rakuto graduated with a Bachelor of Music in performance and composition from the University of Canterbury in 2020, studying with Professor Mark Menzies, Dr. Reuben de Lautour, and Dr. Justin DeHart.

Composed (1)

Fantail in Tokyo

for piano trio