Yuzuru Hiranaka 平中 弓弦 ひらなか ゆづる
(born in Sapporo, Japan) got basic musical education at Yamaha Music Institution in Sapporo from the age of 6. At the age of 15 he won the “Prize for Excellency” in the Junior division for Electronic Organ in the 13th of “Yamaha Music Festival Hokkaido “and the following year he received the Certificate of Instructor at Yamaha Music Institution for Electronic Organ. In the same year he begun studying at “Sapporo Shiroishi High School”, one of the most famous public high schools for brass-band music in Japan and begun classical music lessons (Piano and Solfège).
From the age of 18 he studied at Tamagawa University Tokyo at Music department (organ with Aiko Fukuyama, Tetsuro Tominaga and Shigeru Ito, piano with Masaki Yoda, cello with Jyuro Aoki and drama with Akira Okada). During his 3rd year at the University, he was a finalist in the 3rd Japanese Domestic Organ Competition. In 1984 he Graduated from Tamagawa University Tokyo and received the“Bachelor of Arts Degree for Organ” and the “National Licence of Music Educator” from the Ministry of Culture and Education. Following organ studies with Tsuguo Hirono privately in Tokyo, He made “Debut Concert” at International Christian University, Tokyo organized by The Japan Organist Association. The same year he went to Europe to study.
He first studied organ with Piet Kee at Sweelinck Coservatory Amsterdam (1984-1985), and laster with Bert Matter and Theo Jellema at Hoogeschool voor de Kunsten at Arnhem (1985-1991). In 1985 he began studying historical performance practice on organ and harpsichord with Ton Koopman and Tini Mathot at the Royal Dutch Conservatory, the Hague. There, he pursued in depth studies of performance practice, historical keyborard techniques, baroque styles and aesthetics, basso continuo and chamber music.
In 1990 he obtained the certificate of baroque organ (playing at Waalse Kerk in Amsterdam) and the diploma of organ (playing at St. Stevens Kerk in Nijmegen and St.Walburgs Kerk in Zutphen). In 1991 he obtained the diploma of harpsichord as well as the organ soloist diploma (playing in Norden, Germany).
Later, he continued his organ studies with Xavier Darasse in Paris and Toulouse, France (concentrating on French baroque and French romantic repertoire), and with Zsigmond Szathmàry at Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Freiburg (“Kontaktstudium Hauptfach Orgel - concentrating on German romantic and modern music). In Denmark he studied organ and Danish Chuch Music with Hans Fagius and Lasse Ewerlöf (organ), Frans Rasmussen (direction), Lars Bisgaard (harmony and counterpoint) and Eva Maille (liturgy) at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. There, he obtained the Danish state church music diploma (DOKS- Kirchenmusiker A), and the organ soloist diploma, ending with his official debut concert as a soloist organized by the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen with a wide range programme incl. a C. Ph. E. Bach Harpsichord concert´ with period instruments and a Clavichord solo. In 2002 he obtained the Danish state organ pedagogic diploma.
Later on, he began studying organ improvisation with Bert Matter and Anton Pauw, supported by the Danish State Church Fond and The Church Ministry in Denmark. Yuzuru Hiranaka is a prize winner in the 3rd international organ competition in Odense, Denmark, in 1990, and the 5th international organ competition in Toulouse, France, 1991, and he received the `Honorary´ Diploma in several international organ competitions; In 1988 he was Semi Finalist in the 9th "Festival van Vlaanderen" in Brügge, Bach Organ Competition, where he was ranked among the best 4 out of 84 competitors, and he received the “Honorary Diploma” in the 17th International Organ Competition in Lahti, Finland. Junko Linjama, the Composer of the mandatory modern piece for the competition nominated Yuzuru Hiranaka as "The most musical and fanciful performer of the competition".
In 1998 he was chosen to demonstrate the Compenius-organ in the Frederiksborg Castle for the Japanese Emperor, Empress and the Danish Queen and Royal family during the official visit of Japanese Emperor and Empress to Denmark.
He was selected the first Japanese Musician living abroad as a Japan-Foundation dispatch musician in 1998, and gave recitals at the Cervantino Music festival, the largest music festival in America/Mexico. In 2002 he was nominated for "The Culture Prize of the year 2002" from the City of Vaerloese, Denmark. A TV program which Yuzuru Hiranaka and his church choir performing on DR (The Danish National Broadcasting) in January 2006, was nominated as the 2nd best sacred television program in the EU.
Since 1994 he has been working as an organist in the Danish state church, first in the Kirke Saaby/Kisserup parish (1994-1999), then in Værløse parish (1999-2007) and from 2007 to 2019 at Sankt Johannes Church, Copenhagen. From January 2020 to September 2020, he was the organist at St. Alban´s Church in Copenhagen, the Anglican Church (The Church of England) in Denmark. In October 2020 he was appointed as the organist and the music director at Egebaeksvang Church, Espergaerde, Diocese of Elsinore Cathedral.
Yuzuru Hiranaka teaches organ at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen and at the State Academy of Church Musicin Roskilde, and is harpsichord teacher at the Malmö Academy of Music, at the State University of Lund in Sweden. In 2009 Hiranaka taught at the State Music Academy of Norway, in 2014 at St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory, Russia, and in 2018 at Poznan Conservatory, Poland as a guest professor. In 2014 he was appointed guest instructor for the Italian Organ Academy in North Sjælland, Denmark, giving Master classes through the year in Søborg. He has played a lecture concert at the summer academy at the Alicante Conservatory of Music in Spain (2019), and Masterclass in Duszniki-Zöj, Poland (2019). He was going to give Masterclass at University of Kazakhustan and Rio De Janeiro in 2020, but due to Covid 19, the arrangement was postponed.
In his native country Japan he has been a guest teacher for organ and church Music at the Summer Academy of Japan Reformed Church Association and giving lecture concerts and Master classes at Hokkaido University, the Sapporo Organ Academy, Tokyo Women´s University, Keisen University, Tohoku Gakuin University, Hokusei University, Seitoko University, the International Christian University in Tokyo and Tokyo University.
His concerts can regularly be enjoyed in Europe, Japan, USA, Mexico, Uruguay, and Brazil. He has been playing recitals in major music festivals - the Bolzano music festival, Swiss Organ festival, European organ festival, Musée des Augustins, Kunst station Köln, Firenze Duomo, Venezian organ festival, the Odense Bach week, Chopin Music Festival in Poland, International Organ Festival “Cittá di Bergamo”, St.John´s in San Fransisco, the Catalan organ festival, Swedish baroque festival, The Cathedrals in Copenhagen, Roskilde, Milano, Stavanger, Arnhem, Rotterdam, Breda, Antwerpen, Bari, Oslo, Hamburg, Frederiksborg slot, Selsø slot, Haarlem St. Bavo, De Oude Kerk Amsterdam, Rochester Museum, St. Marachy´s New York- NY, Oaxaca baroque festival, The Music festival in Idaho, the Organ festivals in Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo, Tokorozawa-Muse, Kawasaki-Muza, Tokyo Metropolitan Opera, Opera city Tokyo, Akita Atorion hall, Yokohama Minatomirai, Kawaguchi Lilia hall (postponed due to Covit-19), Bach Festival in Linz (postponed due to Covit-19), Concert halls in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (postponed due to Covit-19)…etc.
As a chamber music player he has played together with many famous musicians such as Horacio Franco, Anders Ljungar-Chapelon, Sigiswald Kuijken, Hiroko Koda and played as a soloist with many ensembles and orchestras including Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and European Baroque Orchestra. The Händel year he performed Händel Organ Concertos with the Austrian chamber orchestra. Unusual for a classical musician, he was asked to play the organ at Copenhagen Fashion Week in 2008 and performed Bach on organ in the DR-Concert hall for the fashion show. In February 2012 he visited Yale University and Eastman School of Music, USA to give concerts, and also the Merida Cathedral, Mexico, the oldest Cathedral in America for giving concert and Master class.
He has made recordings for various television and radio networks, such as Radio France, NCRV-Radio 4, Danmarks Radio, TV-Mexico, Greek TV, Tokyo Broadcasting Service (TBS), Sapporo-television (STV), and Metronome DK.
He has performed the complete Buxtehude organ works during 2007 during Buxtehude´s 300 year anniversary and the complete Mendelssohn organ works during Mendelssohn´s 200 year anniversary in 2009 and he gave a lecture concert at Kanagawa Kenmin Hall in Yokohama.
His new CD recorded on the Christian Müller Organ in St. Bavo, Haarlem, NL (music including F. Liszt´s ”Ad nos, ad salutarem undam”), and chamber music recording with Flutist Anders-Ljungar Chapelon (music of French baroque and Hina Sakamoto) will soon be released.
Yuzuru Hiranaka has received prizes from Ascoli Piceno for the inauguration CD of the historical organ, and at Tokyo Music Festival regarding the TV programme he performed for Tokyo Broadcasting Service in 2007, as well as funding from the "Competence Foundation", the Danish Church Ministry (2003), and the "Gramex Foundation” (2004 & 2006) as well as from the “Danish Soloists' Association“ (2009).
Yuzuru Hiranaka was a jury member for international organ competitions in Italy and Holland in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. 2017 and 2017.
Yuzuru Hiranaka is a permanent resident of Copenhagen since 1991.