As a Collaborative Pianist— 5/25/10

May 26, 2010

I have been performing with many different musicians, and I suppose I can be called a collaborative pianist. One point of pianist lives pianists who played with other musicians were called all together “Accompanists”. and I am sure some pianists claimed that we were not Just Accompanying!! We play music with other musicians! So now we are officially called “Collaborative Pianists”. Some music schools have a separate study on collaborative piano besides solo piano study.

My collaborative pianist life started when I was in Tokyo Metropolitan High School for Performing and Visual Arts. This school was an excellent place for me! It had only 6 classes for grades 10-12, and focused on music or visual arts. My class mates were violin players, french horn player, singers, composers, future musicologists–. So it was natural to play with friends for fun, lessons and concerts.  After I went to Toho Conservatory for my bachelor’s degree my collaborative life was expanded. I met so many wonderful musician friends at school, and it was so fun to discover the new repertoire with different instruments, especially violin, flute and brass area. My piano professor was not happy that I spent hours on those non-piano solo pieces, but I had a good time! Among many instruments I was a pianist in Seizi Ozawa’s conducting class, and I read the symphony scores with other pianist. One read the strings and other read the rest, and we learned Brahms, Beethoven symphonies.  After I came to US and while was still in the school for master’s and doctor’s degree I got a job at High School for Performing and Visual Arts in Houston. That gave me a working visa, H-1! My work was to accompany (!) choirs and singers for their recitals. So I expanded my repertoire in vocal area, playing Broadway style to jazzy pieces, German, Italian, American and French songs, and the choir music! During my Houston days I performed with fantastic instrumentalists for higher level than I was doing in Toho Conservatory. And to make a living I played for the students’ competitions and concerts, mostly string instruments.  And in LA where I resides now I have learned extensive brass repertoire. In just this spring I have performed with 8 different brass players! 

I played with 2 flute recitals in this spring, and one included Dutilleux Sonatine for flute and piano which I performed when I was in Toho Conservatory! Fun memory came back to me!  When I learned it for the first time I fell in love with this piece! Nothing goes to waste. My husband is a cellist so I am known to be a cello pianist. I know basically all of cello pieces, and own the music too! So convenient! I have performed major piano trios, and other chamber music involves piano, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Schumann, Mendelssohn—-. I love to play any of these chamber music any time!

Of course I should have listened to my piano professor at Toho Conservatory to focus on piano solo repertoire (I performed 3 solo recitals this spring!), but I have had great pleasure to explore and to learn new repertoire, to meet new musicians, to exchange jokes during the rehearsals (!), and to perform so many so many different genre of music,  and I have been making a living as a performer because of my collaborative work.  I am looking forward to collaborating with many more musicians!

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