English Blog

Movie-The Ghost Writer 2/27/10

February 27, 2010

It is Roman Polansky’s new suspense movie.  It is pretty good, especially the actors and actresses have done a great job! I like Ewan McGregor’s slightly nervous, but brave writer in this movie. He was good in the movie “The Men Who Stare At Goats”, and hisrole is similar in this movie. The movie is full of beautiful scenery and twists!  The ending is not convincing to me, but the story is so twisty that we get involved deeply. Pierce Brosnan is no longer James Bond, but he is a wonderful charactor actor.

My Faculty Recital at Occidental College 2/26/10

February 26, 2010

My Faculty Recital at Occidental College

I had my annual faculty recital on Tuesday 23 at Occidental College. I repeated the program from January s performance at Clarke Library. It is always so nice to play at our own schools! And I was glad to see students and friends in the audience! I enjoy playing my current repertoire a lot, my love of Spanish and South American music, jazz-classic synthesis pieces, and Russian Romantic music and etc–. Also I am very excited to perform Bach D Minor keyboard concerto later in this spring! Well– of course it is different than this recital program, but I always love to play his music. Yes, it is Bach! To celebrate Chopin and Schumann for their centennial year I will perform cello-piano repertoire by those birthday boys in this spring as well.

It is still a big challenge for me (after so many years!!) to play an entire recital by memory, but I like to keep doing it. I remember Earl Wild once said he keeps practicing for 4 hours a day to keep his fingers moving ( unfortunately he passed away last year). I heard his recital in LA when he was in late 80s. It was a great concert! It is something we can look for in our entire lives to get better on our instruments. It will come only after we keep doing it!

Spring is approaching! Our friend Dove mama has laid her eggs already in her spring house in our backyard. She usually gives birth to 4 or 5 sets of dove babies in each spring! Have a nice weekend!

Trombone Day! 2/8/10

February 15, 2010

Congratulations for all of trombone players at “Trombone Day” at CSU-Fullerton on Saturday 6, February! It was a great day! And Big Congratulations for Prof. Bob Sanders! He is the one who has worked hard to organize this wonderful event. I believe I was only non-trombone player that day! Piano is not an ensemble instrument (we do piano duet and 4 hands!), but we can collaborate with many different musicians. The truth is we don’t have “Piano Ensemble” with 20 pianists! It is so nice to see so many of same instrumentalists get together in a good supportive spirit. It seemed like “Brotherhood” to me.

I performed with John Rojak, who is a member of American Brass Quintet, and active in NY area. He was the featured artist. I had a great time getting know him, rehearsing, and performing with him. As I said “Trombone Day” was a big success all of the activities, concerts, ensemble rehearsals, lecture, panel discussion– went so well. It was a full energy day despite of heavy rain and flood (the concert hall was heavily flooded.). I was even more honored to be at the party hosted by another great trombone player, Andy Malloy, on Sunday. Great Music, Nice People, and Lots of FUN!

Movie-Avator 2/2/10

February 2, 2010

This movie is an opposite of the movie I saw little bit ago. Avator is the story of fantasy depicted in the real world. Dr. Parnassus was the real story depicted in the fantasy world.  I enjoyed Avator more than I thought. The picture is impressive with 3D and beautiful, but the story is pretty simple. I suppose they made it simple purposely to feature the picture, and for any age and for any people in any countries. And it is a typical Hollywood movie that we know from the very beginning who is bad and who is good. Compare to the great 3D, like “Terminator” in the Universal Studio 3D is not always great in Avator. I sometime took off the glasses to see the difference, and I could not tell the dimensions sometimes–.

Anyway it is a wonderful entertaining movie for everyone!

A Movie – The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus 1/11/10

January 11, 2010

The title is telling us what kind of movie it might be! It is a colorful, psychological, Monty-Python-like, imaginative–movie. It is sometime like “Wizard of Oz”, sometime “Alice the Wonderland”. If you like cartoon “Lio” on paper you would like it! The character acted by Heath Ledger is again a very difficult role. The music is very effective in this fantasy world. And the combination of Man-made set and the digitally created one is good! I truly enjoyed it.

Piano Recital at William Andrew Clark Library 1/10/10

January 11, 2010

Committee of Professional Women for Los Angeles Philharmonic had a 45th Anniversary Celebration yesterday, Saturday 1/9, and I was invited to play my piano recital at William Andrew Clark Library at UCLA (please see photos in Photo Section on this homepage). Los Angeles is a very big city, and there are so many wonderful venues for concerts. It was the first time to visit this beautiful and historical library for me, and simply I fell in love with this concert room. Mr. Clark was a founder of LA Phil so this venue was a perfect selection for this celebration.

I have performed for different committees of Los Angeles Philharmonic, and it has been my pleasure to play for them and to meet those wonderful people who support music with their hearts. I had a great time performing in this beautiful music room, and communicating with the audience through music yesterday. Mr. Clark was a big music lover, and this was his passion to have this wonderful music room in his estate. I performed; Granados-Valses poeticos, Piazzolla-contrabajissimo, Mompou-tres canciones y danzas, Rachmaninov-Op. 23 #2 and #5, and Op. 32 #5, Kapustin-Toccatina, Gershwin-Rhapsody in Blue. As always I shared interesting anecdotes with the audience between playing.

I am so fortunate to get those wonderful opportunities to perform. Thank you for inviting me to be  a part of this celebration!!

Happy New Year! 1/7/10

January 7, 2010

It has been already a week past since 2010 started! Again,

Happy New Year!  It is a tiger year in our Japanese calender. How is your new year going?? I spent for 5days in Indiana visiting my husband’s family in December (We came back just in time to celebrate New Years’ Eve. Huh– there was a bottle of chilled champagne in the fridge!). It is good to feel COLD once in a while. Living in California is just great, but I sometime miss 4 seasons. Japan has it, and we live according to the seasons. The food is different in each season as well.

My playing-with-different-cellists life is over now after yesterday. I played with Brook Speltz (Curtis graduate 08′)  in December. He surely sounded wonderful, technically strong and musically convincing, and I had a great time playing with him. He is seeking the chamber music opportunities in his future.  I am focusing on my solo program which is coming up VERY soon! I will perform my favorite composers and pieces on Saturday 9th for LA Phil’s Committee members. I will repeat this program for more occasions in this spring. It seems busy, but very productive spring is ahead of me. There are many music waiting on my piano to be practiced!

Piano Studio Recital at Occidental College 12/8/09

December 8, 2009

We had a piano studio recital at Occidental College last night, and I was so happy to hear everyone playing wonderfully! I have 16 students this semester(Please see a photo from last night. One student could not stay til the end, and one student could not participate because of her father’s illness.), and I enjoy working with each student, and seeing their progress. Occidental College is a liberal arts college, not a conservatory. So music study is not competitive. It is to express and to explore their music. Of course if students choose to major in music the situation gets serious, but it won’t be like a conservatory! Our program last night was diverse, from classic composers like Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Mozart, Granados, Burgmuller, to Tenmon, Spektor, Kahn, Argent, Winston, and Rosenburg (his own jazz composition). One of students sang and played piano. She has a beautiful voice.  Compare to my education, going to an performing arts high school, to B.M., M.M., and D.M.A. , majoring all piano performance, the students at Occidental College explore many areas in their lives during these 4 years, including MUSIC! We have a wonderful “Study Abroad Program”. Some of my students have gone to different countries for a semester or a year. But under this program they don’t n need to delay their graduation. I feel very rewarding to teach students and to discuss about the music and their lives at Occidental College.

Have a wonderful holiday to all of my students and to you!

A Great Cello Day 11/29/09

November 29, 2009

I had a nice day yesterday, writing an article for Japanese Newspaper, practicing piano, doing chores around our house, seeing a good movie, working out at the gym–etc. But the evening was the best part! On the way to play for a cello recital in Long Beach my ears caught a familiar name on KUSC, Desmond Hoebig, a fantastic cellist, a friend of ours from Houston time. He was a principle cellist in Houston Symphony back then. The recording  they played was from May 2008 and it was Dvorak Cello Concerto with Cleveland Orchestra where he was a principle cellist. Oh!! it is not easy to describe how great his playing was! His tone, nuance, rubato, phrasing, vibrate— everything was just right! Of course his technique is perfect! I remember he has long beautiful fingers, and I was imagining the picture of him. My 43 miles drive to Long Beach was so quick listening his cello. I was lucky to listen his live performances in Houston for several times besides the orchestra concerts, and this recording reminded me that he is one of the best cellists in the world. And his comments after the concerto was also very sweet. Bravo, Desmond!!

And I arrived at Daniel Recital Hall at California State University-Long Beach to play with a very talented young (handsome!) cellist, Daniel Smith for his recital. I was pretty much still excited after the radio show. We did the touch-up rehearsal in the hall, and waited for the perfromance. I played with him last year, and this time he had Prayer by Bloch, and Barber Sonata with me, and his solo was Britten Suite No.1. Barber is one of my favorite cello-piano pieces ever! He played so well!! I had a great time making music together. Last time was already very very good, but he got so much better since. When I was playing with him in the first half I was busy, but in the second half I sit down in the audience and listened Britten Solo Suite. It was so powerful and passionate. His tone was beautiful throughout the piece, and he had a great focus in the music. This recital was a fund raising event and I imagine many of the audience were not classic concert regulars. But every single person in the audience was still and captured by his great music making. I am still in shock after his recital. Bravo Bravo, Daniel!

A Movie – An Education 11/28/09

November 29, 2009

I have been curious about this movie, and I had free hours yesterday before the concert SO I went to Playhouse in Pasadena to see it. I forgot the actress’ name, but she is just cute! The story is rather simple, and the script is well-written. I enjoyed the conversation in the movie. But I could not relate to the ending.  That was too easy!  Also accepting David, the actress’ elder (!) boyfriend, by her parents was too easy! How strict they have been to their daughter and how quickly they adapted this un-known elder man for her daughter’s special friend is strange.  I suppose the key was David’s soft spoken skill, but –. I guess they were amused by him as well as their daughter because of his fancy  life style contrast to what they have been doing. It is an enjoyable movie with fun conversation to follow. A+ student got into an unexpected affair with extravagant life, but she turned around quickly and went to Oxford!