WMU News

Yoshimi Takeda to serve as artist-in-residence at WMU

March 20, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Maestro Yoshimi Takeda, music director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, will be sharing his talents with students at Western Michigan University under an arrangement approved March 20 by WMU Board of Trustees.

The board endorsed the appointment of Takeda as an artist-in-residence in the School of Music, effective July 1, 1998, through June 30, 2001.

Takeda announced a year ago that he will conclude his tenure as music director following his 25th season with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in 1999. He intends to continue guest conducting around the country.

"Maestro Takeda has a wealth of experience to share with our students," said WMU President Diether H. Haenicke, who initiated the residency. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our School of Music and the University in general. We look forward to his time on our campus."

Takeda, who received an honorary doctor of music degree from WMU in 1989, said he is delighted to have the opportunity to teach at the University.

"There are many talented students who are working very hard to establish their careers in music," he said. "I feel I am able to help them pursue their goals through my many years of professional experience. I also plan to expand the curriculum offered at the School of Music with, for example, master classes in conducting and orchestra audition preparation and performing more contemporary music."

In addition to working with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Takeda has served as music director and resident conductor of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra for 14 years and as associate conductor of the Honolulu Symphony for six years.

He has been a guest conductor with symphonies around the country as well as in South Africa, England, Belgium, Mexico, Spain, Portugal and his native Japan. He has twice received the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Award for Adventuresome Programming of Contemporary Music.

Also an accomplished opera conductor, Takeda has led performances with the Four Corners Opera, the Michigan Opera Theatre and the Opera Theatre of Hawaii, and was music director of Opera Southwest. In Kalamazoo, he initiated self-produced opera seasons, which have included many highly acclaimed performances.

"We are delighted to have a conductor of his stature and immense experience, particularly in our immediate area, joining us," said Dr. Timothy Light, WMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. "He will bring a great deal technically and musically to our midst."

Takeda will be in residence at WMU for a minimum of 10 weeks in each of the next three academic years. He is expected to lead opera performances, special chamber music ensembles, master classes and guest lectures, according to Dr. Richard O'Hearn, director of the School of Music.

"This is an exciting opportunity for us to enhance our program," he said. "Maestro Takeda's residency will give students a chance to experience different musical perspectives as well as enhance conducting experiences. It also will give us more flexibility in producing opera and expanding our repertoire with more contemporary music."

Media contact: Ruth Stevens; ruth.stevens@wmich.edu

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