Tomoko grew up in Japan, and moved to the U.S. to study professionally. She has also visited and performed in Europe. And music itself transports her. She says, “Without music you don’t see as much of the world.” Music is a cultural gateway, and both music and travel help people get out of their comfort zone.
Tomoko has frequently taken advantage of musical opportunities in her travels. In 1968 Tomoko visited a friend in Florence. There she visited a Medici house, where she asked, “May I use your harpsichord? They let me do it, and I played the Fugue in C sharp major BWV 848 by Bach.” She explains: “The instrument is there. What does it sound like? You have to try it.” In the Chopin Museum she played his Raindrops Prelude in Majorca. However, in Beethoven’s house in Vienna, which was made into a museum, she was not able to touch anything.
Tomoko also thinks that travel, particularly in nature, is good for the musical soul. “If you have a problem with playing, go outside, communicate with nature, and see how it communicates its beauty.” She recalls, “In Rumania my husband and I were walking in the countryside. We saw one little donkey who had left his mother to follows the cow. The donkey started braying, which was a special way of calling.” That sound had its own musical timbre, just as a bird’s singing communicates a special meaning. Tomoko contends that nature’s music might be said to compete with human’s music. It can certainly inform the musician.
In each of these travels, Tomoko steps outside her usual musical zone, and expands her notion about music. These experiences enrich her own performance, and help the listener travel musically in their minds and souls.
Enjoy Tomoko’s musical journey in her albums, found at http://www.tomokohagiwara.com