LA Times Article “Roll over, Beethoven” by Rick Schultz and My experience with Non-Classic Music 1/6/13

January 6, 2013

It is so fun to know that the great classical musicians like pop and rock! LA Times asked 17 conductors, ages 26 to 71, what they like to listen in their free time. Most of 17 conductors answered their favorite pop, jazz and rock musicians. This article made me to think about my history in music as well. I grew up listening Emerson Lake and Palmer, Yes, Pink Floyd, The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pollini, Argerich, Ashkenazy, Rubinstein, Horowitz…. I first heard a partial Brahms symphony on Yes’ album, and a partial Pictures at the Exhibition on ELP’s album. I am sure ELP knew the great orchestration on Pictures by Ravel, and they worked hard arranging it for just three of them to play. It sounds great, and they are very creative and innovative.

When I was in Toho Conservatory, I was often asked to play on synthesizer with the rock band organized by the college students. We played Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. I enjoyed playing it fully, and one day, they asked me to sing at their concert…… I refused strongly, but finally they convinced me that I could do it. It was, of course, a huge mistake! When they came to my piano recital, the band members said to me that I am good at piano!

After I got the acceptance letter from Toho Conservatory, I was very excited to study piano at one of the best music schools in Japan, and to celebrate this special occasion, I went to the concert by Lynyrd Skynyrd with my high school boy friend. After the concert, we came outside of the auditorium, and the ground was covered by the snow. It was beautiful and romantic. (In Japan the new school year starts in April) My friends and I often listened rock albums and dictated their songs on the sheet music. It was more fun to do this than serious ear training class!  Also some of my friends used their songs to study English. Lately I love listening Bill Evans and few years ago, I asked my composer friend to write a piano suite inspired by Bill’s music. There is no boundary between musical genres as long as it is a good music played by a good musician. Oh, I have one exception, country-western (!)

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