Hirono Borter is a Japanese composer and violinist, based in the United States. Alongside her husband, Philip, she formed Duo-B a violin/cello ensemble dedicated to promoting and expanding the string duo repertory. In addition to performing violin in the duo, Hirono frequently composes and arranges music influenced from a variety of eras and genres. The ensemble’s most recent project included the release of an album of original arrangements of tangos by Astor Piazzolla, which eventually led to concert tours in Italy, Japan, the Midwest, and the Southeastern United States. Hirono is currently engaged composing a series of works, titled Reimagining Bach, taking movements from Johann Sebastian Bach’s solo music and “recomposing” them through the application of modern idioms and popular alternative styles.
In her work with Duo-B, she was recently welcomed as a featured guest artist at the 2019 Experiencing Villa-Lobos: International Festival, the Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival, the Romanza Festivale in St. Augustine, FL and the 2017 Iowa Composer's Forum Music in the Shape of a Pear festival. She is a member of the Iowa Composer’s Forum and a frequent contributor as performer, composer, and adjudicator.
As a violinist, Hirono has performed across three continents including Austria, France, Germany, Holland, and Italy, Japan, and the US, with landmark performances at Carnegie Hall, the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington D.C., Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theater, Minatomirai Hall in Yokohama, and Tokyo Cultural Hall in Japan. She has collaborated with Ensemble Modern in a performance of the music of Steve Reich in Tokyo, Japan and has also performed with cello soloist Jens Peter Maintz at the Gustav Mahler Akademie in Ferrara, Italy. She completed her Master of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music under Professor Mikhail Kopelman, where she also served as his Teaching Assistant. Earlier studies were conducted at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg under Professor Latica Honda-Rosenberg and she later received her performance diploma from the Universität der Künste Berlin. Her earliest mentors include Keiko Izumi, Berent Korfker, Gregory Feigin, Yoshio Unno and Zakhar Bron.
Hirono performs on a violin made in 1770 by Italian luthier Pietro Antonio Landolfi.
Award-winning concert cellist Philip Borter’s performances have taken him across three continents, including appearances in some of the word’s most prestigious venues, with a long list of iconic artists, including Itzak Perlman, Andrea Bocelli, Joshua Bell, Micheal Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, JoAnn Faletta, among many others. Alongside his wife, Hirono Borter, he formed Duo-B, an ensemble dedicated to works for violin and cello. Together, they were winners of the Eastman Concerto Competition, with landmark performances in Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theater, the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington D.C., the Universität der Künste in Berlin, and Minatomirai Hall in Yokohama, Japan. In his work with Duo-B, Philip was recently welcomed as a featured guest artist at the 2019 Experiencing Villa-Lobos: International Festival, the Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival, the Romanza Festivale in St. Augustine, FL and the 2017 Iowa Composer's Forum Music in the Shape of a Pear festival. Other performance projects include a recently released album of Tangos by Astor Piazzolla and concert tours in Italy, Japan, the Midwest, and the Southeastern United States.
Philip has been recognized in both national and international competitions. He was a laureate of the Carlos Prieto International Cello Competition and was also a winner of the Eastman School Concerto Competition and the American String Teachers Association Competition.
Philip completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. As a student of Steven Doane, he earned his Master of Music Degree at the Eastman School and his Bachelor of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of Richard Aaron. Intensive chamber music studies have led to opportunities to work closely with members of the Cavani, Cleveland, Emerson, Miami, Tackas, Tokyo, and Vermeer String Quartets and members of the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, National Symphony, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Other instructors include distinguished pedagogues such as Janos Starker, Joel Krosnick, Eleanor Schoenfeld, and Stephen Geber.
In 2020, Philip will join the faculty of the Baylor University School of Music as Assistant Professor of Cello. He previously taught at Luther College and the University of Rochester.
Dr. Borter performs on a cello by Vincenzo Panormo ca. 1790.