English Blog

Woody Allen Movie-Whatever Works 7/12/09

July 12, 2009

Yes, we should take “whatever works”! And we have to be true to ourselves. Some outfit looks great on Ms. A, and if I try to copy it it may look good in my mind, but that outfit may not fit to my body or I may actually look funny in that dress–. You know what I mean. Everybody has different mind, body, skin color, height, weight, desire, concept, occupation, hobby–. Recently I went over my closet, and I was reminded that too! We have to listen our voices and to look into our eyes. This movie has a very hopeful message, and full of Woody’s humor!

Timothy Andres-How can I live in your world of ideas? 7/6/09

July 6, 2009

I have mentioned before that I heard Timothy Andres (we call him Timo) at Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella concert, and I fell in love with his piano piece called “How can I live in your world of ideas?”.  Do you know what I found after I came back from the trip in the end of June??? Timo mailed me his piano piece for me!!!! Since the day I received his piece (except I was gone for another unmusical trip for 5 days) I have been figuring out this great piece. As Timo told me this piece requires big hands, like Timo, Liszt, and Rachmaninov. I can reach 10th with my left hand (I need to stretch my left hand with maximum strength!), and 9th with my right hand. So I need to figure out some of the big chords to fit to my little hands (!). Other than that I am really enjoying playing this cool piece every day. I am aiming to perform at the concert in Pasadena in August. Thank you very much, Timo!

In September I have a big tour to Japan, and I am starting to prepare for this tour which includes several programs, but mainly all American music! This tour is partially sponsored by the US State Department. I will post soon for detailed information about those concerts in Japan.

Concert in Dallas 6/22/09

June 22, 2009

I was in Kansas for last 10 days to teach and to perform at Sound Encounters. During those 10 days I made a very quick trip to Dallas, TX, to perform with my friend Jon, trumpet, and his girl friend, Liane, violin. Liane joined us for Ewazen’s piano trio which is a great piece to play! I have performed several pieces by Ewazen, and I liked all of them! Winter by Snow (I am not joking!) for a trumpet and a piano is a beautiful piece including lots of piano solos! I was so honored to play my PIANO solo at the Trumpet Festival! Besides above pieces we performed Gershwin, Turrin, Simon, and Damase. This trumpet camp was organized by Bert Truax and his wife, Sarah. Bert is a great man with a great vision on music education. And I was so happy to meet many wonderful trumpet players while I was there.

So I am back in LA for few days before taking off to the next trip. It is beautiful in LA LA Land!!

Mark O’Connor 6/12/09

June 13, 2009

I am in Ottawa, Kansas, for music camp. The students are wonderful and the organization is just great! I enjoy coming here for teaching and performing for 10 years, and every single year I look forward for this summer music making in Kansas! I performed last night with 2 great musicians, and I am very happy to hear so many positive comments on our recital! Tonight was one of highlights of this music camp because we had Mark O’Connor performing his string quartet and his solo pieces. Oh—he is just marvelous! He has a great technique and imagination! He can do anything with violin!! His rhythmic drive is very natural, but very energetic! I was stunned! After this concert we went to the reception, and he was so nice to chat with!! He gave me several CDs of his recent recordings. I am looking forward to performing his piano trio for next year. I am inspired.

As I write in my greetings page the music took me to so many wonderful places, and Ottawa, Kansas, is certainly the one of those memorable and exciting places I have gone. Our music making will be continuing to next week here, and we will conclude this camp on 6/20.

a Movie-Departure 6/8/09

June 8, 2009

I could not wait to see this movie, and I went to see it on the first day! As a Japanese I did not need the subtitle! Whenever I see Japanese movies I feel very nostalgic, and feel home sick–. The movie “Departure” made me feel it too. The relationship between a husband (a cellist turned a funeral business man) and a wife (a web designer followed her husband to live in his home town) is typical in Japan. It is quiet, and there is often not much communication, oposite of western couples(!). And eating is very important in Japan. We feel the seasons from different food we eat. We comfort each other from eating. We show our love from food–. You can see eating scenes a lot! I have attended many funerals in Japan, but I never seen the people do rituals on death. I did not care much about this ceremony, but I can share the feeling how the family members would accept their loved ones death. The expression in Japan is different than the western world, and I still do have Japanese expression—.

This movie has gotten different reviews, good and bad, but I recommend you to see it. It has many beautiful scenes from the northern part of Japan, and it depicts quiet love (it is not dramatic like Hollywood movies!). You can cry and laugh.

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.