Born in Hiroshima in 1981, Gaku Yamada was inspired by Jimi Hendrix to take up the guitar when he was in Junior High School.
A specialist in contemporary music, his relationships with Japanese and non-Japanese composers have enabled him to premiere numerous solo works, chamber works and concertos. He has made guest appearances with many contemporary music ensembles, such as Ensemble Nomad and the Tokyo Gen’On Project.
In addition to the acoustic and electric guitars, Gaku is a skilled player of period instruments such as the 19th century guitar, the baroque guitar, the lute etc, and has an extensive repertoire of music from all periods.
In recent years he has become active as a non-musical performer, appearing in stage works in collaboration with dancers and molding artists, trying out new approaches to expression.
A recording by his own ensemble “Trio ku”, released in 2010 on the Berlin based Kreuzberg Records label was highly praised by the German music magazine Die Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. He has participated in numerous recordings both in Japan and overseas.
Gaku has appeared at many music festivals, such as The Suntory Foundation for Arts Summer Festival, Contemporary Music Seminar “Akiyoshidai’s summer”, Tokyo Experimental Festival, Berlin Randspiele | Neue Musik in der St.Annen Kirche Zepernick etc.
He has been invited to perform in cities in Germany, Belgium, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam and to give lectures in local universities on new techniques and Japanese contemporary music.
He won first prize in the 41st Classical Guitar Competition, second prize (no first prize awarded) at the 38th Incontri Chitarristici di Gargnano, and first prize at the“Kyogaku IX”, the 9th Contemporary Music Performance Competition. He also won the 20th Asahi Contemporary Music Award.
At present, Gaku is a part-time lecturer at Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music and at Fukuyama Heisei University.