Interview by Suntory Hall
Suntory Hall in Tokyo, built 30 years ago, is one of the finest concert halls in Japan and is currently going through an renovation this year.
To celebrate this occasion Suntory Hall recorded video interviews with international artists who have performed at this venue. My interview is with English
Listen Free my Tchaikovsky Concerto
Listen free at the following site a charity concert held on March 4th, 2014 at Suntory Hall to benefit chirldren who lost parents in the Great East Japan Earthquake 2011.
I played Tchaikovsky Vn Concerto with Maestro Ken Takaseki and Japan Super Orchestra. Last year this charity provided scholarships for 240 children to suppor their study
Performed Bach for Noism at Kennedy Center on April 26 and 27
On April 26 and 27, Noism, a contemporary dance company in Japan, presented 3 works at Kennedy Center, for one of which I performed live on stage Bach's Partitas for Solo Violin. The theater was sold out on both nights. Following site: you see a review by Washington Post.
Noism at Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
By Sarah Kaufman, Washington Post, April 28
In a blast of white light after a blinding blackout, the Japanese dance group called Noism took a hard turn into surrealism.
The dancers who had displayed great skill but little personality earlier in Thursday's program now appeared as the most wonderful characters, caught in torqued, questioning and defensive poses as if they'd just dropped into the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater from Mars. Or were they refugees from one of Rei Kawakubo's avant-garde fashion shows? Their billowy, tent-shaped costumes looked like Kawakubo with a bad case of static cling. As the dancers started to move, you saw that they were layered in all manner of frocks and tunics split apart and stitched atop one another.
One wore half a man's suit jacket with a red velvet cocktail dress flapping from her back like a butterfly fillet of koi.
The heavily percussive music sounded like a Japanese garage band. The dancers collapsed like popped balloons, then rose and thrashed. Musical boundaries shifted; now we were hearing a klezmer tune, a crackly Caruso warbling "O Sole Mio," then Elvis and Edith Piaf bleating "Non Je Ne Regrette Rien."
As for moi, je ne forget rien. How could I? It was all too terrifically weird, especially when the dancing took on a boneless, melting quality. When their partners deposited them at the lip of the stage at one point, the women oozed over the edge and slid to the floor.
Nothing was easy for these folks, as much as they struggled to master their engulfing patchwork clothing, patchwork music, patchwork dance. They gave it a valiant shot, and that was perhaps the point of this piece, titled "Nomadic —a bond of gravitation." Life's fragmentation and disappointments are hardly a new subject for art, but "Nomadic" and the two works that came before it showed us the changes an artist can ring in treating a familiar theme.
The works formed a trilogy called "Zone," created by Noism's Artistic Director Jo Kanamori. Kanamori's group, established in 2004 in Niigata, is Japan's first contemporary dance company, but it is sophisticated beyond its years in technique and repertoire. It made an impressive appearance here in 2008, in a revenge-of-the-robots piece called "Nina — Materialize Sacrifice."
Names are not Kanamori's strong suit. When you read that you're about to see a dance titled "Psychic — incomplete threnody," as the middle section of "Zone" was called, you can bet it's going to be a long evening. (If your recall of obscure literary terms is as rusty as mine, a threnody is an ode to the dead.)
Kanamori spoke the truth in a question-and-answer session with the audience following the performance. "Everybody has seen everything already. What is important is to choose."
I hate to use the artist's words against him, but as I watched "Psychic" and the piece that came before it, "Academic — solo for 2," that was exactly my thought — I'd seen so much of it before. The dancers' skill was extraordinary — so precise, so swift in the air. But the choreography was less so: a mix of melodramatic Martha Graham, some angular and jazzy Twyla Tharp, the stretch and lift of classical ballet, and the nervous agitation of Anna Sokolow.
"Academic" was an unemotional exercise in energy and form, elevated considerably by the supple live performance of Bach's Three Partitas for Solo Violin by Reiko Watanabe. "Psychic" veered in the other direction, its urban alienation underscored in the dancers' audible breathing, the flashes of aggression and trembling that came out of nowhere. (Part of the "incomplete" nature of the threnody, I guess.)
But if those sections felt more like promising sketches than a complete expression, in "Nomadic" the energy, music and drama came together in an original and transporting bit of theater. Kanamori may have isolation and darkness on his mind, but at his best he can switch on the light to a brave new world.
Relief Fund for the Japan-311 Earthquake
Nippon Music Foundation loans top-quality stringed instruments, such as Stradivarius, to promising young musicians around the globe. All of its activities is funded by its parent Nippon Foundation, which has just started a relief fund for the victims of the Japan-311 Earthquake and the tsunamis. And I am writing specifically to music lovers for your consideration.
The Nippon Foundation/CANPAN Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund will provide effective, accountable, and timely support to where the help is most needed in the affected areas. Total amount of your donations will go to support those affected by the disaster, and all the costs involved in effectuating these relief efforts will be assumed by The Nippon Foundation.
In terms of immediate aid, three staff of The Nippon Foundation are on the ground now, working closely with several other NGOs to deliver food, water and other aid supplies as well as providing services such as warm foot baths and clean water for laundry and other daily necessities to the evacuees. We are also working to set up central volunteer stations as well as securing medical supplies and a wide range of specialists, including doctors, nurses, psychotherapists and sign language interpreters, as paid volunteers to support the people of the disaster stricken areas.
Our medium- to long-term plans will have a particular focus on children who have been orphaned by the disaster, disabled individuals, elderly, immigrants, and others whose particular needs are often left unmet in difficult circumstances.
Total donations received as of Mar. 24, 2011 via our online website and bank transfer is approximately US$ 3.28 Million.
Donations are acceptable either by credit card or bank transfer.
Please access the web site below in English for more information on how to donate to this relief fund:
Welcome to my official multi-media website in two languages!
We are living in a brave new world where mankind can share information almost instantly with everyone.
My Web site started several months ago and since then I have posted blogs in Japanese, mostly on my musical activities in and outside of Japan. Wherever possible I also upload photos and sound bytes of variety of activities such as farming, hiking, traveling, and photography. Two to three months of a year I spend in Akita in Japan, several months in New York, and the rest I am in Tokyo or other parts of Asia or Europe.
In the Japanese home page section are my concert schedule and three video clips: one by a local TV station on the small farm where I grow different vegetables and two clips from public lectures/ performances which I gave on some Bach and Janacek sonatas at the Akita International University in June. At this liberal arts college I teach an intensive seven-week music appreciation course either in the spring or fall semester; all teachers teach classes in English. An exception to the rule at this university is when I give a lecture and the public is also invited; then I lecture in Japanese, and simultaneous translation into English is provided to Japanese and foreign students alike.
A bit of geography on Akita. It is located in the northern part of Japan and is in snow country, rich in nature and history. To the west side of Akita, there is rough Japan Sea, and the remaining three sides are mountains, one of which, Shirakami, is on the World Heritage List. In the English section, you can read my bio and translations of the blogs, but I have omitted blogs which are not related to music.
I will soon upload the English description of my past five CD’s. Meanwhile, please enjoy excerpts from my CD’s: Bach’s solo violin sonata No.3 “Largo”, Paganini/Szymanowski’s Caprice No. 24, Gluck/Kreisler’s “Melody” and Berg and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concertos. To access these excerpts, please go to the Japanese language home page, click “discography” and click again the last tag on each CD, which contains Japanese symbols: ▶試聴できます Enjoy listening!