“Music is more than tonality; it is the essence of sound,” Tomoko asserts. Moreover, “To create music requires some style. You need to include emotion.” Where does inspiration come from? In talking about her musical career, Tomoko draws from a wide variety of experiences.
“My mother’s dream was playing music. She was cheerful when she listened to music, and I feel enjoyment in playing.”
Hungarian master pianist and teacher Lili Kraus inspired her. “I had her LPs as a child.” As an adult, Tomoko met her at the conservatory; “She was a modest, sweet charming lady. We had to love each other.”
Tomoko grew up in Japan, and moved to the U.S. to study professionally. She has also visited and performed in Europe where 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.
Folk music of different nationalities inspires her. “The music was created 500 yearsago, and never goes away. It is most valuable because comes from history and shows national heritage.”
Movie music inspires her. “Movie makers can interpret a scene so eloquently with music.
And, of course, Mozart inspires her. “The experience is pure music. I can repeat a piece of his twenty times. It gives me freedom.”
Even a challenging piano piece inspires here. “You keep moving, learning the piece. Later you can look back and see the progress; that is a good feeling.”
Tomoko also finds inspiration in programming the recitals for her students. “It is like being a designer or a construction builder.”
Tomoko also gets inspiration outside the music world.
When Tomoko visited art museums in Bruges, Flemish miniatures inspired her; “All artists say something.”
Nature inspires her. “When I see a river moving, that is music.” Tomoko remarks, “If you have problem playing, go outside, communicate with nature, and see how it communicates its beauty.”
Her performances certainly show how her life has inspired her to express music with mastery and creative style. You can hear some of that inspired playing by listening to her Mozart album, available at https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tomokohagiwara7