IFUKUBE 100: A Legacy Of Monster Music
Ifukube 100 was the first blockbuster concert produced by Genesis 54. The brainchild of composer John DeSentis and filmmaker Chris Oglio, Ifukube 100 celebrated the centennial of the famed Japanese film composer, Akira Ifukube (1914-2006).
For years, John DeSentis tried his best to convince various orchestras throughout the United States to perform the famous Godzilla music of Akira Ifukube. Weary from the repeated lack of interest from the ensembles that he contacted, and wanting to take matters into his own hands, DeSentis approached Chris Oglio to pitch the idea of staging an all-Ifukube concert themselves. Chris loved the idea and believed that it could work, but there was just one problem: neither John nor Chris had ever produced a full symphonic concert in their lives.
But propelled forward by their mutual enthusiasm for the project, John and Chris established a Kickstarter campaign in order to independently raise the needed production funds. The two would-be producers planned to put on the concert in Chicago, IL during the annual Godzilla convention, known as G-FEST, which also takes place in the Windy City. Thanks to a massive web-based promotional effort featuring artwork from designer Archie H. Waugh, the reaction from Godzilla fans was tremendous, and the Ifukue 100 Kickstarter goal was both met and exceeded. John and Chris then began in earnest to make all of the necessary preparations for the concert, which included selecting and arranging the music, choosing the venue and bringing together an orchestra of highly talented professional musicians.
Ifukube 100 took place on July 12, 2014 at the Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge, IL, which is located in close proximity to the G-FEST convention site. Acting as the Master of Ceremonies was Erik Homenick, the webmaster of the official English language website about Ifukube, AKIRAIFUKUBE.ORG. In his opening remarks Homenick read a special introductory message written for the event by the late composer’s son, Kiwami, to the audience. The concert itself featured original suites of music from each of the Godzilla films that Akira Ifukube scored, starting with the original Godzilla film (1954) and ending with Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), arranged and conducted by John. Indeed, this concert was the first of its kind; never before, even in Japan, had there ever been a live concert devoted to all of Ifukube’s Godzilla scores. History was made!
Ifukube 100 was attended by over 600 convention goers as well as two very special guests: the renowned pianist Reiko Yamada, a former pupil of Ifukube, and Koichi Kawakita, the legendary special effects director of the “Heisei” series of Godzilla films in the 1990s.
As a result of John and Chris’s collaboration to make Ifukube 100 not only a reality but a smashing success, their company, Genesis 54, was born. A deluxe recording of the concert was subsequently produced by DeSentis and Oglio on their Montaro Records label and is available for purchase on website.