English Blog

Spring in LA 3/10/09

March 10, 2009

I have been so busy performing and teaching so I have not been able to up-date my homepage. And I got sick! As you see in concert information I am playing many concerts in this spring. I am very happy to get these many opportunities 🙂 I started to play piano when I was 3 years old. and I am still playing after so many years! Is’nt it amazing!! And I discover new things everyday in pieces I practice. And I am reminded very often how important the basic practice is, like slow patient practice with rhythmic variations. When we don’t have much time to practice actually it is good to stick with basic practice!

Last 2 weeks I performed all Mendelssohn program with my husband, David, to celebrate Mendelssohn’s 200th year! Oh! those 2 sonatas for cello and piano are great pieces to play and listen if the pianist practiced! Yes, they are very demanding piano parts! I think I managed OK to reach the point I could enjoy. We will repeat 2 more times on this program in later this month. Next 2 weeks will be concerts of trombone music with 2 trombone players, Alex (Tomasi/concerto) and Andy (all new music).

Ken asked me how he will get my CDs. You can get my newest CD “Cancion para piano” at CDBaby. If you would like to have other CDs including trio CDs please write to me and mail it to PO box address in Contact.

New Semester at Occidental College! 1/28/09

January 28, 2009

I started to teach at the Occidental College last week. I have 15 wonderful students in my piano studio this semester. It is very rewarding for me to teach at this wonderful school. Some of my students are really advanced playing Schumann Concerto, Rachmaninov Preludes, Liszt “Un sospiro”— which is very exciting. On the other hand some are not advanced yet, but they are very enthusiastic to learn and to observe all kind of aspect in music. That is great to teach at liberal arts school. My educations are all in music schools majoring piano performance starting Art High School in Tokyo, and finishing doctorate at Rice University. It is so different at Occidental College. The students try many different areas, and decide what they would like to continue for their career. Some students take “a study abroad program” to go to different countries for a semester or a year. They have great experience in this program. One of my students, Lisa, was in Japan under this program few years ago, when I had a Japan concert tour. So I invited her to come to my concert in Tokyo!! We had an exciting time!! I try to keep a good balance between teaching and performing (and of course haveing fun!!) .

Friendship! 1/20/09

January 27, 2009

I attended LA Phil’s party last Sunday. It was for musicians and donors. After wonderful conversation with friends, my husband and I sat down at the table with donors. We started to introduce ourselves and to chat over a wonderful food. The nice couple sitting next to me was the board member of the Occidental College where I teach piano. What a coincident. I made new friends.

San Francisco Symphony is in town for their tour, and my husband and I went to hear their concert and to see our old friend, Tom, last night. We had a great time. We chatted over several drinks. We left the bar almost 1am!!

Sumo! 1/15/09

January 15, 2009


I am a BIG sumo fan, and January is one of 6 tournaments in a year. Each Sumo tournament lasts 15 days so today is the 6th day in this January Basho (tournament). Each match can be very short, like few seconds, but it has a DRAMA!! I know most of Rikishis (wrestlers), faces and characters! I try to comment and analyze for each match! I have been following Sumos for many years, and now we can watch them on Japan TV outside of Japan!! Isn’t that great!! I put my big energy to watch through the matches everyday for 15 days.

Windy Days in LA 1/14/09

January 14, 2009

We are having a very dry and windy weather because we are having desert strong winds called “Santa Ana”. It gets below 10% humidity in some days with “Santa Ana”, then we get the warning of wild fire. Usually it gets hot as well so we are in 80s in January!

I rehearsed with my friend cellist, Ben, this morning. He is preparing for his concert in Texas. We played Mendelssohn variations, Bach Gamba Sonata #2, and Brahms F major Sonata. He is a fantastic player, and we had a great time playing together. We will continue on Saturday.

It is a Mendelssohn’s celebration year so I am playing some of his great music including Sonatas for cello and piano. He was an excellent pianist so his chamber music contains flushy piano part! Last night our music friends were chatting in our kitchen and I confessed that I am going to play Mendelssohn’s 2 cello sonatas on one concert for 3 occasions. One of them warned me getting hands injury. I said ” no problem!” We will see–!

Have a nice day!


1st letter from LA 1/12/09

January 12, 2009


Happy New Year! I hope your 2009 is going wonderfully.

We had a cold weather from Christmas to New Year, but it has been a Blue Sky with 70-80 degrees. It is beautiful to feel the outside air and sun!

I have many exciting concerts opportunities in LA this spring-summer. Please check my concert schedule. I love to play my solo recitals as well as chamber music with great musicians. I am lucky to have these performances! To be able to manage all kinds of concerts my days are planned with practice. My late cat, Justin, was always sitting with me on the piano bench when I practiced. He went to Neko (cat) Heaven last spring. Now I have his brother, Jester (Japanese Name-Gonta, Nick Name-Gonchan) , who does not care about my music life much. He loves to play with me! So I excuse myself from practice to play with him. He is a very good cat!

One of my hobbies is to watch Sumo on Japan TV. Sumo Tournaments are held 6 times a year in odd months. It is time to watch their 2nd day in this January basho(tournament).

I will write to you soon!

Warm regards, Junko