Tomoko asserts that music is freedom. She has many examples to prove it.
Freedom is very personal for Tomoko. After World War II, Japan was occupied by the United States. In a way, that situation gave Japan freedom to appreciate art more and see its importance. Yet in terms of music, Japanese piano technique was very disciplined, and students did not have much freedom in how they played. Tomoko left for the United States to find the freedom to seek the personality of the piano. Even though she knew little English, she could be understood through the international language of music; the piano gave her freedom to communicate.
In the 1960s Tomoko traveled to Europe, and later she met her future husband: a Hungarian who witnessed his country’s revolution in 1956. Hungary was behind the Iron Curtain, and freedom was limited. In 1972 Tomoko married this refugee in Austria, and they were able to come to the U.S. for more freedom.
Tomoko notes the voice of freedom expressed in folk music. Bartok and Chopin, for instance, drew upon the national musical spirit, which enabled people to express their sense of inner freedom.
For freedom also lives in the mind and heart. For instance, Tomoko says, “Your music is your own; no one can steal your heart.” Tomoko continues, “I love Mozart so much. I repeat it 20 times. It gives me freedom.”
It should be recognized that freedom does not mean lack of discipline. For instance, Tomoko states: “When I give a recital, preparation is most important. The performer is not free if not prepared.” Tomoko knows that having the freedom of showing personality requires careful choice. Music has lots of vocabulary, so the more knowledgeable the performer, the more clearly the personality can be expressed freely.
With age also comes freedom. “All my recordings are after I reached 65 years old,” Tomoko states. “You are free.” Feel free to enjoy the fruits of Tomoko’s freedom as expressed in her dozen of CDs.