English Blog

Getty Villa 6/1/09

June 8, 2009

I have been to Getty museum in LA for several times, but I had never been to Getty Villa. So I went there last Friday! It is located in Malibu, California. Los Angeles is a huge city, and Malibu is one of many cities we have. My piano teacher, Mr. John Perry, told me before I moved to LA that we have to think LA is a country consisting small cities.

It was worth to drive to Malibu. This museum was constructed to imitate Italian Villa. The garden is just beautiful, and the view is amazing from any place in museum. I don’t know how much $ Mr. Getty had to collect this many Roman, Greek, and Etruscan antiquities. Imagine that the people in 2000 or 3000 years ago had this level of skills to express beauty, craftsmanship, humor, love, anger–. We can share all of these human feelings. I liked everything! For instance one of the exhibitions are the faces on mummies, and they look really pop-arts! But the sarcophagus (coffins) are beautiful crafts curving many small details like we think of antiquities.

If you come to LA Getty Villa is a nice venue to visit. It is relaxing as well. After the museum you can go to Malibu beach for ocean air. Our lives are often so stressful and schedule oriented, and we forget to spend some time visiting those nice places even though there are within our city!!

John Adams, Timothy Andres, and Payton MacDonald 5/14/09

May 14, 2009

I heard a very good new music concert at the Disney Concert Hall last Tuesday, May 12. LA Phil has a new music series called Green Umbrella, and it was the last concert of this series in 2008-9 season. I went to this concert with my church friends, 2 couples in 70s, and they enjoyed so much as well I did!!

As a pianist I enjoyed Timo Andres’ piano solo piece “How can I live in your world of ideas?” performed by the composer. He is a fantastic pianist, and has a beautiful and colorful tone in his piano playing. I guess we call this piece as a minimalistic music, but it is a fusion of all great music, especially jazz influence. And it is very creative and individual. I had a chance to meet the composer, and told him I would love to play this piece! He asked my reach, and I guessed this piece requires Rachmaninov-Liszt type of big chords and leaps! He is a tall and handsome person!! And his commissioned work “Nightjar” was excellent as well.

Payton’s “Cowboy Tabla/Cowboy Raga” was an exciting and interesting piece! And again the composer was a solo player in the chamber orchestra. He is an outstanding player! One of the core ideas was the improvisatory passages, featuring himself, and players from the chamber orchestra.

They concluded with John Adams’ “Son of Chamber Symphony”. I heard the composer commented during the rehearsal that his publisher is not happy with this title. It is easy to guess, right!? It has a great use of each instrument, and of course rhythmically driven. One of my church friends keptsaying “Bravo!!” after the concert. It was a great night going out with friends and hearing an exciting music. I look forward to hearing more Timo’s music!

Spring Semester Ends! 5/7/09

May 7, 2009

We finished piano jury today at Occidental College. Prior to piano jury we did a studio recital last night. It was lot of fun!! We use “jury” for performance test. The students play their semester repertoire front of professors to conclude their study. I have had wonderful 16 students in my piano studio at Occidental College this semester. I love teaching!! I love all of my students! Of course we work mainly on music during the weekly lesson, but I often chat with students about their lives. It is difficult to say “good bye!” after the close relationship for 4 years. But I am very happy to see grown students! They start college at 18 years-old, and in 4 years they grow into a different stage. I feel very fortunate to work with students during those important 4 years.

I have several performance in May in LA, and will go to Sound Encounters in Kansas in June for teaching and performing. I always have new programs to learn!

Brand Library Concert 4/20/09

April 20, 2009

I really enjoyed performing at Brand Library yesterday. It was a part of their Music Series. The recital hall is located as a part of this historic library building in the beautiful park up on Glendale Hills. I often see people take wedding photos there!

My program was my on-going “A World Journey on the Keyboard”, including Piazzolla, Granados, Ginastera, Sakamoto, Barber, and Poulenc. I change composers from one recital to the others, but the concept of this theme recital stays, my favorite composers and their stories. I love to talk to the audience about the fun and interesting anecdotes on composers, and pieces between playing. Blair is a wonderful music librarian there, and organizes this music series. Thank you for having me yesterday!! I already received a nice email comment about my recital. Also my dear friend, Nick Lane, a great composer/a fantastic trombone player, wrote me an email from his tour with Chicago. He is a trombone player in this BIG BAND!! He really loved my new CD, and gave me wonderful comments. Thank you!! He listened my CD with his band friends on the tour!

Jon Lewis, an excellent trumpet player, who is another wonderful musician friend of mine, dropped by my house today for our concert in Dallas in June. New stack of music is on my piano!! It will be a great concert. I will post the information in Concert section in this website. Please check!

I will perform beautiful piano pieces by Toru Takemitsu this weekend for Takemitsu Festival in Pasadea, CA. One piece will be with video. There will be a great discussion about his music besides concerts. I guess I have to get back to my piano.

Andras Schiff Concert 4/7/09

April 7, 2009

It was a great experience to hear Schiff’s 3 last Beethoven Sonatas in the Disney Concert Hall last Wednesday 4/1. He played Ops. 109, 110, and 111 without intermission. Even he did not take a long break between each sonata. I never thought about playing those pieces as a set, but it created a whole new world! With the fabulous acoustic in the Disney Concert Hall Schiff’s sound was transparent, crystal clear, and truthful. With Schiff’s creative and thoughtful mind those late sonatas sounded as if they were written yesterday. To me Schiff’s music is always very fresh and playful . I would imagine he could be a great improviser! After he released the last note in Op. 111 he came back to the reality.

Martha Argerich Concert 3/14/09

March 14, 2009

She has been living in my heart for many years, and I was very lucky to hear her playing this week in LA. She has canceled last 2 engagements in LA! The last time I heard her was in Houston about 10 years ago. She performed Ravel Concerto with LA Philharmonic. This piece has been her signature piece for many years, and it still sounded very fresh. Oh— she is an amazing pianist ever! Her beautiful sound, interesting and thoughtful voicing, power, personality, her fast passages are so crystal clear, seductive slow movement—I am moved.

I grew up listening 3 big pianists, Argerich, Pollini, and Ashkenazy. My music friends and I often discussed how great they are outside of practice rooms in Toho conservatory. I can’t remeber how many times I listened Pollini’s Chopin Etudes. I am sure I was not the only one. Unfortunately Ashkenazy has been retired from piano playing because of his arthritis. And here comes Argerich! She plays as powerful as the pianist I remember. She looks exactly the same as I remember with little bit of gray hair now.

I truly think we were lucky to have those 3 big pianits for our goal in piano when we were growing up. This week reminds me of my student era!! Now I practice with fresh mind!

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 Los Angeles Philharmonic’s party last Sunday. It was for musicians and supporters. So after some chat with friends my husband and I sat down at the table with several people. It was completely random! 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! So I made new friends!!

San Francisco Symphoty is in town for their tour now, and my husband and I went to hear their concert and to see our old friend, Tom, last night! We had a great time! He plays viola and we lived in Houston, TX, at the same time. We chatted over several drinks. We left from the bar almost 1am!!

Sumo! 1/15/09

January 15, 2009

Hi!

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.