Happy 2018!

I did not have any dramatic change in 2017, but it was definitely a step forward in the same direction. I became a member of the Albany Symphony Orchestra’s cello section in September, which is exciting for me because they are known to champion contemporary music. Duo YUMENO was featured at the National Cherry Blossom Festival and performed at the John F Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. This year, I hope that I can announce more events that reflect “step forward” in my musical life.

When I look back on 2017, I cannot help but to think how deeply divided we have become – both in the US and Japan – at how we view the world. But, I was fortunate to find hope at a concert performed by Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI in February. Savall assembled a orchestra of musicians, both in the European and Middle Eastern tradition, and presented a beautiful program that highlighted the rich and multi-cultural music of the Republic of Venice.

After concluding the program with a triumphant rendition of the final movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Savall spoke to the audience, saying, “I’m a citizen of the world.” At this point, most of the audience members were reminded of the recent Muslim travel ban that was issued in late-January. He continued, “Today on stage, we have musicians from Iraq, Syria and many other countries. I know it’s a difficult time, but we must continue to value our emotion, memory and sensitivity. We must be very sensitive…”

Throughout 2017, I was reminded of Savall’s words and how music that affects me the most cherish all three values – emotion, memory and sensitivity. I was also encouraged to know that music can be relevant in these trying times and promote these virtues that can make the world a better place. I hope to live by these values throughout 2018 and the rest of my life.

May these values enrich your life, too!

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