Blog and Book Reviews

LA Phil Concert with Esa-Pekka Solonen 10/29/14

October 29, 2014

Esa-Pekka Solonen, the conductor laureate of LA Phil, returned to Disney Concert Hall to conduct for 3 weeks in this fall. I went to listen the first program on Saturday October 25. I really loved Janacek’s Sinfonietta! It is a charm. In my imagination Janacek’s music has been indirect, ambiguous, and nationalistic, but this work is more straight forward. There are 13 extra brass players, playing from the back of the stage (just below the organ). It was spectacular! The second piece on the program was Saariaho’s new commissioned work “Maan varjot” (East Shadows) which has a big organ solo. And they finished with Sibelius’ Lemminkainen Suite. It is a story telling work, and the performance was very imaginative. Of course cello and English horn solos were fantastic! It was a nice evening to see Solonen front of LA Phil again, and to hear an interesting program.

2 concerts on theme “Clara Schumann and Her Contribution in 19th Century Music” 10/29/14

October 29, 2014

Clara Schumann (née Clara Josephine Wieck) is considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era. She exerted her influence over a 61-year concert career, changing the format and repertoire of the piano recital and the tastes of the listening public. Her reputation brought her into contact with the leading musicians of the day, including Felix Mendelssohn, Frederic Chopin, and Franz Liszt. She also met violinist Joseph Joachim, who became one of her frequent performance partners. Liszt and Chopin praised Clara’s technique and ability at the piano. Along with Robert Schumann she encouraged Johannes Brahms, and she was the first pianist to give public performances of some of Brahms’s works, notably the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel.[1]She played a leading role in restoring Brahms’s D minor concerto to the general repertory. After the death of Robert she promoted his music throughout her career.

Clara Schumann’s influence also spread through her teaching, which emphasized a singing tone and expression, with technique entirely subordinated to the intentions of the composers.

Clara Schumann provided everything for her family through giving concerts and teaching, and she did most of the work of organizing her own concert tours. She refused to accept charity when a group of musicians offered to put on a benefit concert for her after the death of Robert. In addition to raising her own large family, when one of her children became incapacitated, she took on responsibility for raising her grandchildren.

The first of 3 concerts on this theme will be on Monday November 10 at 12:45pm for  Occidental College’s “Noontime Concert”, including Mendelssohn’s rondo capriccio Op. 14, Clara Schumann’s Scherzo Op. 14, Robert Schumann’s Fantasie Op. 17 (1st movement only), Brahms’ Intermezzo from Op. 118, and Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 Op. 23. The details will be found at .

The second concert will be on Saturday November 15 at 4pm at FUMC Pasadena for “Third and First” concert, including Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet (Jin-Shan Dai and Johnny Lee, violins, Michael Larco, viola, and David Garrett, cello), Robert Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro for cello and piano, Mendelssohn’s Cello Sonata, and Clara’s solo piano work “Scherzo”. The details will be found at

I hope you can come to enjoy some of the best romantic music! And both concerts are free for admission! More Better!


We live in the precious world… 10/29/14

October 29, 2014

We lost our beloved friend, Francetta LaRussa, this past weekend. She had a heart attack and a stroke. I just saw her a week ago, and she looked as happy and beautifully as always. She and Wayne took a wonderful trip to Alaska in September, and their photos from Alaska are still so vivid. She was very happy. We live in the precious world, and sometimes we forget today won’t be repeated. We get caught by small things and forget how amazing our lives are. We miss her tremendously. Francetta has been in my prayer. We will always remember your beautiful smile and soul…

ナニカアル  桐野夏生 新潮社  10/19/14

October 19, 2014


Third at First Concert series 10/20/14

October 19, 2014

We started the new concert series “Third at First” at FUMC Pasadena, California. As you see from the naming each concert will be presented every month on the Third Saturday at 4pm at First United Methodist Church in Pasadena, except March and May. We had the first concert performed by an exceptional organist, Ty Woodward on October 18. His organ playing was an eye-opening to us. His tone was so colorful, imaginative, and creative! I will be on the next concert, Saturday November 15 at 4pm. The theme will be “Clara Schumann and her contribution in 19th Century Music” and the program will include Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet (Jin-Shan Dai and Johnny Lee, violins, Michael Larco, viola, and David Garrett, cello), Robert Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro for cello and piano, Mendelssohn’s Cello Sonata, and Clara’s solo piano work “Scherzo”. Clara Schumann is my ongoing project, and I am so excited to play this concert. Please go to the below site for the details of this new concert series. (My solo recital at Occidental College on the same theme will be on Monday November 10 at 12:45pm in Bird Studio.) Please come to the concerts!


2014 October Our New Concert series "Third at First"! Please go to my blogs.






LA Phil 2014-15 Opening Concert 10/6/2014

October 6, 2014

I truly enjoyed this concert! The program included David Lang: Man Made and Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5, and this programming was an excellent choice to start a new season. “Man Made”, a percussion concerto written for So Percussion (4 percussionists group), is a co-commissioned work and Thursday night was its U. S. Premiere. “Man Made” is so creative, artistic, visually attractive, dramatic, and fun! To me the effect is a new style of minimalist. The conversation between an orchestra and 4 percussion is the key to bring the intention and drama. They echo each other and create the special atmosphere. I was so involved! And I could feel the entire audience was involved too. During the intermission we chatted over this new work, of course! Then here comes Mahler 5! From the moment the trumpet plays 4 notes to the end this more than 70 minutes symphony give us the reason why we like ORCHESTRA, an amazing solo playing in brass section, lyrical string sound in a slow movement.. you name it. One thing I never thought about this piece was that I somehow could hear the relation to Kurt Weill’s music. I started to hear Weill-ish melody and atmosphere in this symphony, and for a little while I could not get away from it. I guess I need to do some research on it! This program is so inviting to the audience to come back to Disney.

A Movie “A Most Wanted Man”

September 28, 2014

This is the last movie Philip Seymour Hoffman was involved before he died with the drug overdose. As always his acting is amazing, but the story is too difficult to believe. It is a great thriller. And I simply could not miss his last movie!

9月場所 大相撲の楽しさ、満喫!

September 28, 2014


NHK達人達 竹内洋岳 篠宮龍三 インタビュー

September 28, 2014


幸せのバランス   9/14/14

September 15, 2014