Tokyo Embassy Choir is Japan's leading ensemble of Japanese and expatriate choristers. It has a broad repertoire and a reputation that stands with some of the world's finest. From Bach to Broadway, its performances are in demand and the choir is proud to offer many of its concerts with free admission –- it asks instead for donations to charity.
Some of the choir's senior members perform as Tokyo Chamber Singers, a select chorus of supreme skill.
Music director Dr. Steven Morgan is a respected authority on sacred and secular music. He has led Tokyo Embassy Choir for nearly two decades, bringing authenticity, skill and panache to Japan's performing arts scene.
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.
Originally from Sayo, Hyogo Prefecture, Masatoshi Takami received his Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy from International Christian University (ICU), where he sang in ICU Glee Club and cultivated his passion on choral music.
After graduation, he worked for several companies in Tokyo area, but his enthusiasm took him to America to study vocal and choral arts. During his study at Emporia State University (ESU) in Kansas, he performed with its A Cappella Choir directed by Dr. Terry J. Bahram and Dr. Carol Crueger, and deeply influenced by their philosophy of choral music education. Having received his Bachelors of Music degree from ESU, he finished his Masters degree in Choral Conducting at Illinois State University. He refined his directing skills under the supervision of Dr. Karyl Carlson.
The power of choral music to connect people has always attracted him ever since he started singing. He has been involved in a number of community choruses, and church choirs both in Japan and America. He also founded and directed Sakura Choir with international and American students at ESU. The group was recognized by the City of Emporia for facilitating cultural exchange in the city. After returning to Tokyo area, he coaches junior high school choirs for their choral competitions, while teaching English to businesspeople.
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.