Rei Munakata, Japanese conductor and composer based in Sweden, dedicates himself to contemporary art music.
Munakata is currently the artistic director and the principal conductor of the Curious Chamber Players Stockholm. Experimentation and curiosity as the ensemble profile, Munakata and the group have been continuously exploring new ideas and concert frames with creative composers with strong originality since 2003. Munakata led the group to a successful breakthrough at Darmstädter ferienkurse in 2012, followed by immediate returning to Darmstadt and invitations to world’s leading new music festivals such as IMPULS Graz, Time of Music Viitasaari, Gaudeamus Muziekweek Utrecht, to name a few.
Close collaboration with the ensemble’s resident composer Malin Bång, Munakata is probably the best interpreter of her music in the world. Munakata and CCP have portrayed Bång’s works in Ultraschal Festival Berlin, Sound Scotland, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik, Sampler series Barcelona, Estonian Music Days, and Borusan series Istanbul.
Munakata is also the principal conductor of Ensemble Mimitabu Gothenburg and Ensemble Scenatet Copenhagen, and has guest conducted ensembles such as Ensemble Mosaik Berlin, Ensemble Aleph Paris, Kammarensemble Neue Musik Berlin, Oslo Sinfonietta, SMASH Ensemble Salamanca, and Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen.
Munakata is continuously invited back to Klang Avantgarde Music Festival Copenhagen every year ever since the festival was established. Munakata made his appearances with Esbjerg Ensemble twice, Curious Chamber Players Stockholm twice, and during 2016 edition Munakata made his debut with Klangforum Wien.
Equally at home in opera house, Munakata performed the Swedish premiere of Salvatore Sciarrino’s Luci mie tradrici at Gothenburg opera together with Gageego! Gothenburg. His journey of Sciarrino’s music continued with Infinito Nero during Warsaw Autumn Festival 2016 conducting Ensemble Scenatet Copenhagen.
Munakata has composed music for instrumental chamber groups, ensembles, electronic music, sound installations, and various kinds of daily life objects. In his recent works, Munakata experiments with the identities of various compositional events and their boundaries. He challenges himself for surreal world of connotation by superimposing his personal memories and life experiences.
Munakata received second prize award from Via Nova International Composition Competition for Pouring Etiquette (2009) scored for flute, cello, and piano, and was performed by Ensemble Marges during XI. Weimarer Frühjahrstage für zeitgenössische Musik Germany in 2010. The same piece was also selected as the winning piece for Call for Scores SoundOn Festival of New Music in San Diego, and was performed several times in USA. An ensemble piece, Sweeing Buddhist (2008), selected as a part of project “Ensemble 2010”, was performed by Ensemble Modelo62 Den Haag during Darmstädter Ferienkurse 2010. This led his return to the festival with his new work for Curious Chamber Players, Buckle in the Air II (2012). In 2013, Munakata made his debut in Netherlands during Gaudeamus Music Week with Shjo (2013) for ensemble, spectacular ensemble piece based on crunchy footsteps on Nordic snow and miso soup sipping.
In 2014, Munakata was granted a long-term residency in Poland by Swedish Konstnärsnamnden to collaborate with ensemble Kwartludium Warsaw/Gdansk. The resulting work, skiego (2015), is the composer’s reflection of recent Polish history and personal memory from the stay in Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw, and Sopot. During the project, Munakata was also invited to compose for NeoQuartet Gdansk, and participated in their project Neoarte – New Music Spectrum 2016. His string quartet Pleats (2016), based on Polish pierogi and warmness of family tradition, was performed in Moscow, Gdansk, Härnösand, and Berlin.
Munakata is also a passionate educator, and has given workshops and seminars on conducting, composition, and instrumental techniques at Gdansk Academy of Music, Birmingham Conservatoire, Cambridge University, Högskolan för scen och musik vid Göteborgs Universitet, and University of Aberdeen.