Kazuhito Yamashita Art Circle


Born in the Japanese port city of Nagasaki, in 1961, Kazuhito Yamashita is widely recognized as one of the world's most premier virtuoso guitarists. His dazzling technique and powerful expression has received accolades throughout the musical world. With an impressive list of almost 80 recordings and numerous original arrangements of such works as Mussorgski's Pictures at an Exhibition, Stravinsky's Firebird, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scherezade and Dvorak's Symphony of the New World, Yamashita is a legend within guitar circles.

In 1978, Yamashita made his debut in Japan and, in the following year, traveled to Europe where a momentous performance was acknowledged as a turning point in the history of the solo guitar.

While still in his twenties, Yamashita made his first appearances in Canada (Toronto International Guitar Festival), the USA and Britain and gave a solo recital in the Musikverein (Grosser Saal) in Vienna. In 1989, the Casals Hall in Tokyo, considered to be one of the finest auditoriums in the world, presented a series called "The World of Kazuhito Yamashita",, comprising seven concerts in 12 months. The high point of the concerts was Castelnuovo-Tedesco's 24 Caprichos de Goya in a single performance. The series concluded with Bach's six sonatas and partitas over two consecutive nights; a recital series was continued in 1994 and 1999. In addition to solo performances, he also plays duo, as well as with chamber music ensembles, orchestras and internationally acclaimed artists, such as Leonard Slatkin with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Rafael FRUHBECK DE BURGOS, Antoni ROS MARBĂ€,Garcia NAVARO, Pedro HALFFTER, Hiroyuki Iwaki, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta de la RTVE, Claudio Scimone e I Solisti Veneti, James Galway (flute), Gary Karr (double bass), Michala Petri (recorder), The Tokyo String Quartet etc. In the 4th Santo Tirs o International Guitar Festival, held in 1997, he played four guitar concertos in one night with the Cordoba orchestra, conducted by Leo Brouwer.

Kazuhito Yamashita has recorded for BMG (RCA), Crown Classics, Japan Victor, King Records and Alfa Records. His recordings include 16 CDs with the complete works of Fernando Sor, and a collection of 5 CDs containing J. S. Bach's sonatas and partitas for violin, cello, lute and flute (BWV995-1013), all which he himself transcribed for the guitar. His long-awaited recording of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, released in 1981, merited the prestigious Deutsches Grammophon Award.

Kazuhito Yamashita began to study the guitar at the age of eight with his father, Toru Yamashita. In 1972, aged eleven, he won the Kyushu Guitar Competition. Four years later, he was awarded First Prize in the "All Japan Guitar Competition". In 1977, he won three important international competitions - the "Ramirez" in Spain, the "Alessandria" in Italy and "Paris Radio France Competition", being the youngest winner ever recorded. Yamashita has given solo recitals in concert halls around the world such as Vienna's Musikverein Grosser Saal and the Lincoln Centre and has performed with a variety of orchestras and conductors in Europe, North America and Asia. His appearance at the Toronto International Guitar Festival in 1984 was spectacular and the performance considered a milestone.

He is an enthusiastic proponent of new works for the guitar and has given the world premier of more than 60 new compositions throughout the world. In this regard, his world premier and presentation of the works of the Japanese composer Keiko Fujiie is notable. In 1999, he received the "National Arts Festival Grand Prize" from the Japanese Government's Agency for Cultural Affairs for his CD recording of "Japanese Guitar Music 1923-1948".

Most recently, Yamashita is active in the guitar quartet "Kazuhito Yamashita + bambini". This quartet, consisting of Kazuhito Yamashita and his children, has performed at two international festivals in Italy, the Seoul Art Center in Korea, Portugal, Cordoba Festival in Spain, San Francisco Herbst Theatre and several cities throughout Japan.

Performed with

Garcia Navaro
Leo Brower
Hiroyuki Iwaki
Kazuyoshi Akiyama
Tadaaki Otaka
Leonard Slatkin

Claudio Scimone & I Solisti Veneti
Orchestre de chambre Jean-Francois Paillard
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Orquesta de la Orquesta Sinfonica de la Radio-Television Espanola [RTVE]
Orquesta Simfonica de Barcelona
Orchesta Filarmica de Gran Canaria
Orquesta de Cordoba
London Philharmonic Orchestra
NHK Symphony orchestra
Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra

James Galway (flute)
Gary Karr (double bass)
Michala Petri (recorder)
Kyoko Takezawa (violin)
Larry Coryell (guitar)
The Tokyo String Quartet

Kazuhito Yamashita + bambini( Guitar Quartet : Kazuhito and his children )

This quartet looks to the risorgimento of a quintessential and older musical tradition. This recalls a bygone era of both Europe and Japan when such music was known and valued and whose echoes can still be heard in the classic 11th century novel "The Tale of Genji."
"KASANE" is the quartet's main repertoire and typifies the music of the age. Four guitars, multi-layering with shifting tonal colors, represent the various plucked stringed instruments of old Japan.

Performances of "Kazuhito Yamashita + bambini" ;
Italy - Rome International Festival (2004)
Korea - Seoul Art Center Main Concert Hall (2005)
Italy - Alessandria International Guitar Festival (2006)
Vietnam - Hue Royal Theatre (2006)
Portugal - Santo Tirso International Guitar Festival (2007)
Spain - Cordoba Festival (2007)
several cities throughout Japan