Formed as the Ichibancho Singers in the late 1980s by Sir Stephen Gomersall (British Ambassador, 1999-2004), the choir was taken on by Sir John Boyd (British Ambassador, 1992-1996) and became known as the British Embassy Choir.
Since then the choir has spread its wings far beyond the serene surroundings of the British mission in Ichibancho, becoming, under the baton of Principal Conductor Steven Morgan, one of the most successful international choirs in Tokyo. It is a "pro-am" choir: although it is an amateur ensemble, many of its members have a formal music background and teach music or perform professionally.
The choir has put on a great variety of concerts – everything from Bach to Broadway – and has raised money for many different charities along the way. The choir has performed at many leading venues, including Ishibashi Memorial Hall, Kyu-Sogakudo Concert Hall, Otsuma Hall, Rikkyo University All Saints' Chapel, Meiji Gakuin Chapel, Meguro Catholic Church, and a host of foreign embassies.
Steven Morgan's musical career spans nearly five decades and includes conducting choral and instrumental ensembles in Illinois, Minnesota, British Columbia and Japan. Since coming to Tokyo in 1995, he has taught both English and music classes at a number of universities in the greater Tokyo area. In 2014, Dr. Morgan joined the World Language Center and Graduate School of Letters of Soka University in Tokyo, where he teaches in the MA program in International Language Education.
Since 1998, Dr. Morgan has served as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Tokyo Embassy Choir. His other musical activities in Japan include having served as Director of Music at St. Alban's Anglican Church (2001-2010), as Visiting Lecturer in Sacred Music at Tohoku Gakuin University in Sendai (2007-2008), as conductor of the Chiba International Singers (2010-present), and as founder and Principal Conductor of the Tokyo International Children's Choir (2012-2014). Dr. Morgan is a founding member of the Rikkyo Institute of Church Music, and served as core music faculty member in the Rikkyo University Graduate School of Christian Studies from 2009-2014.
Dr. Morgan is also an avid composer with major works for chorus and orchestra including Magnificat (2007), Sounds of the Winter (2007), and In pace: A Requiem of Peace (Tokyo, 2011; Denver, 2012). April 2015 saw the world premiere in Denver of his composition Seven Last Words for chorus, soloists and chamber orchestra with a text by the late U.S. Poet Laureate Mark Strand. In October 2015, Dr. Morgan's Concertino for Clarinet and Strings was premiered at the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music.
A genial, spirited and encyclopaedic musicologist, Dr. Morgan is held in great affection by the choir's members. They find his rehearsals to be exercise, education and entertainment in equal measure.
Dr. Brandon Miller is a choral conductor, music educator, and singer from Christiansburg, Virginia in the United States. Having grown up in the Appalachian Mountains in a rich folk music tradition, Dr. Miller went on to study music at Florida State University under André Thomas and Kevin Fenton.
Having received his Bachelor of Music Degree, Dr. Miller undertook further studies in Musicology at Albert-Ludwigs-Universit in Freiburg, Germany. Later he earned both a Master’s of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, under the supervision of conductor, Kathy Romey and baritone, Philip Zawisza.
Following his studies, Brandon taught music and performed in both Germany and Venezuela prior to arriving in Tokyo. Brandon is the proud to be teaching music at Tokyo International School, directing the Tokyo International Children’s choir, and being part of the Tokyo Embassy Choir.
He brings a passion for working with voices of all ages to the choir. His special interests include exploring music from various cultures and languages, and using music as a medium of building stronger communities.
Kimiko Tsurusaki graduated from Musashino Academy of Music in Tokyo with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano. She studied piano under Reiko Sakai, Ayako Takahashi and Daizo Komagamine and started her career as accompanist with chamber ensembles and vocal soloists. She has also studied choral conducting with Professor Daishiro Takusari. While supporting Steven with her focus on female section of TEC, she is leading a number of local choirs including Kawaguchi City choir, Choir of Brunnen&Oasis as a conductor/accompanist.
The choir has the honour to be joined in rehearsal by tireless accompanist Mariko Sano. Born in Tokyo, Mariko started playing the piano at the age of three, later studying under Sayoko Fukami and Asako Tamura.
Mariko took part in the summer course at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien and studied piano and chamber music under Georg Ebert. She graduated from Ferris University with a BA in Instrumental Music (piano major), having studied under Noriko Uno.
Since then, she has been active as an accompanist, joining Tokyo Embassy Choir in 1995. Mariko's sword-sharp ability to follow the conductor's rapid demands is matched by none.
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