Umbra Septentrionis (The Shadow of the North) signifies two ideas: Northern Ontario, Yoko Hirota’s residence for the last sixteen years, and Canada, the Northern country to many Europeans. Umbra Septentrionis features solo piano works by ten Canadian composers – Samuel Andreyev, Aris Carastathis, Brian Current, Brian Harman, Alice Ho, Philippe Leroux, Robert Lemay, Bruce Mather, François Morel, and Jeffrey Ryan. Four of these works (Trinômes III. Sgana, Morel; Eight Songs without Words, Mather; Solus, Ho; Asubakatchin, Lemay) were written for Yoko Hirota and were premiered at La Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur (Montreal) and PianoFest (Queen’s University) recitals, respectively. The musical language of each of the ten composers is distinct and unique; each composition revealing aspects of a powerful musical personality.
Having been praised by the press as “precise and keenly projective” and demonstrating “the highest level of proficiency,” Japanese-Canadian pianist Yoko Hirota is considered one of the leading interpreters of contemporary piano repertory of her generation. Yoko Hirota is a strong advocate of contemporary music in particular music by Canadian composers. Yoko’s first CD, The Piano Music of Arnold Schoenberg with 17 Fragments, was released to critical acclaim and was listed as one of Essential Tracks by The Globe and Mail. Her latest CD, Voces Boreales (Centrediscs, 2013), also received rave reviews from the WholeNote, Musical Toronto, and The Globe and Mail.
1. Leaps of Faith (2009) 7:17
2. Magpie (2008) 1:28
3. dense… englouti (2011) 6:26
4. Inverno (2014) 1:26
5. Asubakatchin (2013) 10:27
6. Miniature for Piano IV (2012) 0:57
7. Trinômes: III. Sgana (2011) 8:51
8. au travers du cerceau (2011) 3:20
9. Solus (2013) 10:57
ALICE PING YEE HO
10–17. Eight Songs without Words (2012) 17:06