The Japanese harpsichordist and organist, Takashi Watanabe, graduated from Tokyo College of Music (piano major) and also finished the postgraduate course of Tohō Gakuen School of Music (harpsichord major). He started studying harpsichord at the age of 20, and two years later he won the prize of Early Music competition in Japan. He is active in many ensembles. From 2002 he studied harpsichord with Bob van Asperen at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, and in 2005 he moved to Pavia, Italy, to study historical organ with Lorenzo Ghielmi at the Scuole Civiche di Milano, graduating in 2010. Watanabe has been a prizewinner in many competitions including third prize at the Fano Adriano International organ competition in Italy, “Cembalosonderpreis” at the 3rd International Viola da Gamba Competition Bach- Abel in Köthen, Germany, and he was a finalist in the 2nd Sweelinck competition, Amsterdam.
Takashi Watanabe’s debut recital was J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) which was a great success. In 2004 Takashi Watanabe founded Ensemble Ricreation d’Arcadia (2 violins, violoncello and harpsichord) to explore the diverse instrumental music and vocal music of the 17th and 18th centuries, focusing particularly on the vast repertoire for the “trio sonata”. They won the first prize at “Premio Bonporti 2004” (president jury Gustav Leonhardt) in Rovereto (Italy) and also received the Audience prize and the ORF recording prize. They have since been invited to many early music festivals in Italy, Austria and Slovenia. Including these festivals: Musica e poesia a San Maurizio (Milano), Accademia Filarmonica (Bologna), Associazione Filarmonica (Rovereto), Festival di Brežice (Slovenia), Festival Internazionale di Musica Antica (Urbino), Grandezze & Meraviglie (Modena), Trento Musicantica (Trento), Nuove Settimane di Musica Barocca (Brescia) etc. They recently recorded several CD’s to be released by ORF in 2010.
Takashi Watanabe is in demand in Europe as a harpsichordist and organist, both as a soloist and as a continuo player. He has played with such groups as La Venexiana and Il complesso barocco, and has performed with Rudolf Leopold, Gunar Letzbor, Enrico Gatti, Vittorio Ghielmi and Lorenzo Ghielmi. His performances on many historical organs include those in Norden, Dornum, Erfurt (Michaeliskirche), Grossengottern, Tangermünde and Milano (Basilica di San Simpliciano and Chiesa di Sant’Alessandro).
Since 2003 Takashi Watanabe has been conductor of the “Handel Festival Japan (HFJ)” in Tokyo, performing Acis and Galatea, La Resurrezione, Hercules, Tamerlano and several Concerti grossi by George Frideric Handel, which were received with great praise.