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Canterbury musician and mentor take new music on tour

An award-winning University of Canterbury music student will be joined on stage by his mentor and professor when they tour the country with a new show over the next few weeks.Rakuto Kurano, 21, a violinist with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, will perform DUPLEXITY at venues from Auckland to Stewart Island.

He will be joined on the tour by Professor Mark Menzies, Head of Performance at the University of Canterbury. Professor Menzies, a violinist, violist, pianist, composer, and conductor, has been Kurano's mentor since 2017 and was his occasional co-performer at university events, where the pair have delighted audiences with their enthusiasm and virtuosic playing. 

“It’s an honour to have Mark join me on stage, and a real stamp of approval for this tour,” Kurano says.

DUPLEXITY features three newly commissioned works by young New Zealand composers Liam Furey, Georgina Palmer and Robin Watson, as well as a new work by Kurano.

“New Zealand has so many incredibly talented young composers, and I want to share their music across the country,” he says. 

Also on the programme are familiar works by composers such as Brahms, Schumann and Piazzolla. 

Originally from Japan, Kurano has established himself in Aotearoa New Zealand as a versatile violinist, violist, pianist, composer and conductor. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Performance and Composition from the University of Canterbury last year and continued with an honours degree this year.

Kurano already has a long list of performing credits to his name in New Zealand, Vietnam and Japan. Awards include the Lilburn Trust Award in 2020 for the composition Alien Abduction Suite, the 2019 NZTrio composing competition for Fantail in Tokyo and NZ Harp Duo composition competition wins in 2016 and 2017.

This isn’t Kurano’s first time on the road. In January 2021, the Baroque Music Community and Educational Trust of New Zealand commissioned him to compose a 15-minute Concerto Grosso for their 2021 Baroque summer workshop and tour. The work was the final piece in the programme on the 11-concert tour and was met with numerous standing ovations. Peter Mechen called it a “splendid work” in a review for Middle-C. 

DUPLEXITY is supported by University of Canterbury’s School of Music and will tour to Wanaka (27 August), Auckland (28 August), Stewart Island (30 August), Christchurch (4 September), Dunedin (5 September), and Timaru (6 September). Tickets are available on Eventfinda and at the door (cash only).

Rakuto Kurano biography:

Rakuto Kurano is a violinist, violist, pianist, composer and conductor. He is a violinist in the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and makes regular appearances on violin, viola and piano as a chamber/orchestral musician and soloist. He has held concertmaster positions in more than 10 orchestras, and has orchestral experience performing for New Zealand Opera and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. 

Kurano has toured the South Island 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 Composers Association New Zealand Nelson workshop as a violinist/violist in both 2019 and 2020 to perform new works written by 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 has played on recordings for 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 with Vietnamese celebrity singer Nguyn Phi Hùng for the Consulate General of Japan in Ho Chi Minh City.

As a multi award-winning composer, his works have been performed by professional artists such as NZTrio, NZ Harp Duo, and Professor Mark Menzies.

In 2021, he was commissioned by the Baroque Music Community and Educational Trust of New Zealand to compose a 15-minute Concerto Grosso for the 2021 Baroque summer workshop and tour.

Kurano 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.



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