"There are two kinds of musicians: those who exploit their instrument, and those who don't." Glenn Gould
Tomoko Hagiwara is in the second group of musicians. When you listen to her perform, you do not think: "How masterfully she controls the piano." Instead, Tomoko respects and frees the music through her respectful and sensitive performance.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Tomoko since the 1980s when I worked as a librarian at San Domenico School, a Catholic PK-12 school in the San Anselmo hills of Northern California. I remember in meeting her that one of her first questions was: "Who is your favorite composer?" I answered quickly, "Bartok" because of his unique take on traditional folk songs, which I loved to sing. My response sealed our friendship.
Since then I have written some of Tomoko's program notes, and she asked if we could blog about music and its impact on life. Thus the inspiration for the name of this blog: Signature for life. The term "signature" refers not only to a composition's key and timing, but also indicate the name of a person as written by their own hand. Music is Tomoko's signature, a key part of her identify. She has loved music all her life, and contends that everyone should have music in their lives.
This blog, then, serves that purpose: to share Tomoko's life of music -- and encourage others to experience music, especially classical music, as a way to enrich and fulfill their own lives. As Tomoko says, "Everyone can listen, and everyone can sing."
And as a taste, listen to one of Tomoko's favorites: Chopin's Etude Opus 25, number 1 in A flat major. You'll hear the liquid melody first, and then appreciate its rich and full peacefulness even after the last note is played. You can download it at http://www.tomokohagiwara.com/recordings.html, https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tomokohagiwara, as well as Amazon and iTunes.(http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/tomoko-hagiwara-chopin-i/id405297234)