The mixed choir "Ensemble Vine," founded in 2000 by Mr. Keishi Ito one of the leading choral conductors in Japan, has been doing its activities especially focused on singing Renaissance music, works of modern composers based on religious and folk music of all over the world, and works of young composers of their country.
The Ensemble Vine has won gold prizes at the National Choral Competition by Japan Choral Association 7 times (including 3 special awards in 2009, 2012, 2013), and 2 times at the Takarazuka International Chorus Competition so far. The choir has in the recent years been visiting numerous festivals and held concerts in Japan, including international festival “Chorus Messe (Osaka)”, “Alti Vocal Ensemble Festival (Kyoto)”, “All Japan Chorus Festival (Koriyama),” and has been gathering increasing popularity. One of the important aims of the choir is to bring pleasure to the audience at any stage, always singing with sophisticated performance, sometimes clever in doing theater piece style.
The choir has sometimes been delegated from composers to sing their new works, and made 2 CD recordings as a result, one of which is of the traditional songs arranged for chorus, and another is of contemporary works made in their country.
KEISHI ITO, conductor
Mr. Ito, born in Kyoto. He's graduated of the Doshisha University, who majored in postmodern arts, used to serve as a student conductor in a university choir: Doshisha Glee Club. After graduation, he started his career as a professional conductor for many community choirs, while working in his alma mater. Since then, he has won 21 gold prizes in National Choral Competition sponsored by Japan Choral Association, including 7 prizes with Ensemble Vine.
In the meantime, he won the gold statue prize in Shangai, China, with Nawate Junior Harmony and was also invited to the choral festivals in Singapore, Canada, Taiwan with Naniwa Choraliers, as well as to 7th & 10th World Choral Music Symposium. At the same time, he toured abroad with several Japanese choirs to many countries like Germany, Switzerland, Greece, France, the United States (at Boston Symphony Hall), Poland, Bulgaria and so on.
His activities are yet expanding these days in many choral music scenes including assuming jury of choral competitions, coaching the choirs nationwide, directing newly-organized choral festivals in which many lecturers are invited from overseas, performing choral theater pieces involving the audience with the choir and planning trainings for student leaders in many colleges. He also published, as a songwriter, some choral music which gained great reputation.