Born in Yokohama Japan, Rei Munakata is a conductor and composer in the field of Classical modern music. Imaginative creativity, experimental curiosity, detailed handcraft, and musical fluidity as the core, Rei Munakata conducts and composes for chamber musicians, ensembles, orchestras, instruments, and sound objects all over the world. Rei Munakata is also a passionate educator, and regularly leads instrumental and composition workshops and teaches chamber music in music universities and conservatories.
Curious Chamber Players Stockholm - Artistic director/conductor
Ensemble Mimitabu Gothenburg - Conductor
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 return 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, the group has portrayed Bång’s works in Ultraschal Festival Berlin, Sound Scotland, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik, Sampler series Barcelona, Klang Avantgarde Festival Copenhagen, Estonian Music Days, and Borusan series Istanbul.
Munakata is the conductor for Ensemble Mimitabu Gothenburg, and has guest conducted ensembles such as Esbjerg Ensemble, Ensemble Mosaik Berlin, Ensemble Aleph Paris, Kammarensemble Neue Musik Berlin, Oslo Sinfonietta, SMASH Ensemble Salamanca, Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen, Distractfold Ensemble Manchester, Aarhus Sinfonietta, and 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.
Rei 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), and was performed by Ensemble Marges during XI. Weimarer Frühjahrstage für zeitgenössische Musik Germany in 2010. The same piece was selected as the winning piece for Call for Scores SoundOn Festival of New Music in San Diego as well as several performances all over the US. 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, a 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.
Rei Munakata is also a passionate educator, and has given workshops and seminars on conducting, composition, and instrumental techniques in numerous contemporary music festivals and music universities.
The goal of Rei Munakata's composition workshop is to create a special platform for young composers to be able to exchange compositional aesthetics, ideas, techniques, and creativity in a form of open rehearsal. Students are also guided through ensemble psychology and rehearsal techniques.
Rei Munakata specialises in interpreting music by young composers of various artistic aesthetics, and has led workshop for composers in numerous occasion.
In recent years, Munakata started annual collaborations with Esbjerg Ensemble Denmark and Gotland School of Music Composition Sweden to work with more than 20 young Scandinavian composers each year.
Munakata has been invited to give workshop in music universities such as Högskolan för scen och musik vid Göteborgs Universitet, the Royal Danish Academy of Music, the Royal Academy of Music Aarhus, Birmingham Conservatoire, Cambridge University, Aichi University of Fine Arts, Darmstadt Summer Course, Bludenz Contemporary Music Festival, and Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya.
Curious Chamber Players Stockholm and Mimitabu Gothenburg are often involved in composition workshops during new music festivals such as Darmstadt Summer Course, Gaudeamus Utrecht, Time of Music Viitasaari, Bludenz Festival, to name a few.
Munakata regularly gives contemporary music performance workshop for instrumental students.
Every year Rei returns to Gdansk, Poland, to work with young instrumentalist at the Academy of music in Gdansk, Poland. The intense five-days course consists of instrumental interpretation, detailed work on extended techniques, composers' personalities and their relationship to the compositions, ensemble playing and communication, to name a few. The project concludes with an official concert.