LA Times Article “Roll over, Beethoven” by Rick Schultz 1/6/13

January 6, 2013

It is 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, Lynard Skynyrd, Pollini, Argerich, Ashkenazy, Rubinstein, Horowits…. 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.

I was often asked to play on synthesizer with the rock band by the college students who attended near by university from my high school for performing arts in Tokyo. We played Deep Purple and Led Zepplin.. I enjoyed playing it fullly, and one time they asked me to sing…… I refused, but finally they convinced me that I could do. 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 I went to the concert by Lynard Skynrd with my high school boy friend! After the concert we came outside and the ground was covered by the snow. It was beautiful and romantic! (In Japan the school starts in April!) My friends and I often listen rock albums and wrote down their arrangements on the music. It was more fun to do this than ear training! Also some of my friends used their songs to study English. In recent years I love listening Bill Evans and few years ago I asked my composer friend to write a 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. I have one exception, country-western (!)

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