I’m really excited to be able to share an interview, conducted by Jonathan Stefaniak, of Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra solo double bassist (principal bass) Shigeru Ishikawa on Contrabass Conversations this coming week.
Shigeru previously served as principal bassist for the BernerSymphonieOrchester in Bern, Switzerland and the Florida Philharmonic as well as guest principal bass with the New Japan Philharmonic in 1996 under Seiji Ozawa. Shigeru was principal bassist of the New World Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas from 1993 to 1996.
Shigeru recently performed the Joe Hisaishi (composer of the soundtracks for Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and numerous other popular Japanese films) Contrabass Concerto , and this episode features MIDI excerpts from this super cool piece.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Shigeru Ishikawa is one of the foremost doublebassist of his generation, both as a performer and a teacher. He is currently He is currently Solo Bass (ie. principal bass) of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. Shigeru previously served as the principal double bass (Solo Kontrabass) of the BernerSymphonieOrchester in Bern, Switzerland, which he started in 2006. His performance has been described as “irresistible charm” (Der Bund), “jewel of a crown” (Miami Herald), “deep-rumbling bravura with athletic, fleet-fingered virtuosity” (Sun Sentinel).
He was the principal bassist of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra from 1997 to 2003 under the music directors of James Judd and Joseph Silverstein. Prior to that, he served as the guest principal bass with the New Japan Philharmonic in 1996 under Seiji Ozawa Music Director and was the principal bass of the New World Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas from 1993 to 1996. He has been also the member of Saito Kinen Orchestra (Seiji Ozawa, Music Director) since 1992 where he participated in numerous recordings on Philips and Decca label. Maestro Ozawa chose him as the solo bassist (Chamber Orchestra) of Saito Kinen Orchestra for Britten’s War Requiem both in Japan and US tour in 2009 and 2010 and recorded on Decca label.
In addition to his orchestral activities, Shigeru Ishikawa regularly presents solo and chamber music performances. Since 1991 he has given numerous recitals both in Japan and USA , places including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Matsumoto, Sapporo, New York, Miami, Boca Raton, and has appeared on radio broadcasts in both countries.
If you’re not familiar with Shigeru’s playing, you really need to check out this video of him performing that Bach Allemande from the first Cello Suite: