Welcome to 2017

It feels like a lot has happened since my last post, but here are some of the highlights.

I performed “Not a Singe Cloud Exists” by Yoko Sato at Yoko Reikano Kimura’s shamisen recital on January 8. Yoko worked very hard for this recital and sounded fabulous. I was so proud to be part of this concert.

It was also great to be part of New Opera Showcase 2017 – an event presented by The National Opera Center America – with the SONOS Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Erik Ochsner. We had such fun in the cello section too!

Duo YUMENO performed at the new years party of the Japan Society of Fairfield County, CT on Jan 22. This was our second performance at the Japan Society, but we already feel like we are part of this wonderful community.

Photo: Marco Borggreve

Jean-Guihen Queyras and Alexander Melnikov’s recital at Carnegie Hall was simply magnificent. They performed Beethoven’s A Major Sonata, Chopin’s Cello Sonata among others. Queyras was able to bring out so many beautiful colors from his instrument, and his playing made me realized that there is so much more to explore in my music making. The possibilities are infinite.  So inspiring!

Silence (2016)

I didn’t expect much from Martin Scorsese’s latest film, Silence, but was moved by the strong performances of wonderful actors, powerful images (and the incredibly subtle sound designs) and the complexity of its themes. As a Japanese, I can assert that this is one of the most evenhanded and honest depiction of Japanese people and culture in a mainstream Hollywood film.

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

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It’s been a while since my last post in October, but Duo YUMENO’s recital at New York Buddhist Church on 10/16 was a success, and we would like to thank everyone who attended the concert!

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We also had some memorable performances in the beautiful state of Connecticut, such as our recital at Greenwich Historical Society (10/18), performance/demonstration at Riverside Elementary School (11/7) and a recital at Edgehill Senior Community in Stamford (11/19).

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As far as performance with orchestra goes, I had a wonderful time being part of Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic’s cello section on November 12. It was a great privilege working with Maestro Lawrence Loh and soloist Arnaud Sussmann.

Janufa by Leos Janacek

Yoko and I had a chance to catch Wagner’s “Tristan and Isolde” and Janacek’s “Janufa” at the Metropolitan Opera. Both performances were powerful and moving. “Janufa” especially was a revelation.

Kiga Kaikyo / Straits of Hunger (1964)

A retrospective of Japanese film director, Tomu Uchida was held at MoMA, and I had a chance to see “Mori to Mizuumi no Matsuri,” “Kiga Kaikyo” and “Kagirinaki Zenshin.” Most of Uchida’s works are rarely shown even in Japan, but it was great to catch even a glimpse of his rich filmography.

And of course, who could forget the historic presidential election on 11/8!? No matter what happens from now on, we must try hard to move forward. Let’s make this world a better place for all of us.

Durer & Rembrandt: Master Prints from the Collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly @ The Hyde Collection

I had a wonderful opportunity to perform with the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra last weekend. During my stay in Glens Falls, I saw this fantastic exhibition of prints by Durer and Rembrandt as well as many other artists. I usually do not take pictures of art works at museums but couldn’t resist photographing these works because the details were stunning.

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Albrecht Durer: The Great Fortune – Nemesis

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Rembrandt van Rijn: The Descent From the Cross

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Aegidius Sadeler: Daina and Actaeon

Hidejiro Honjo Shamisen Recital: neo @ Tenri Cultural Center, NY

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The very talented Hidejiro Honjo presented this awe-inspiring shamisen recital last week, and I’m still thinking about how great it was. The entire program was contemporary music, but I was struck by how different each piece was – the calmness of Elizabeth Brown’s Afterimage and Yuji Takahashi’s Kasukani to the overwhelming energy of Dai Fujikura’s neo. I was also impressed by how Honjo’s performance was completely integrated with the music of Toshi Ichiyanagi’s Rinkai-iki and Ushio Torikai’s TROIS that these contemporary pieces sounded “classical.”