March 4, 2012

Making Music with Mozart

Who would you like to meet in heaven? Tomoko answers immediately: “Mozart!” Her reasons?

His ability to connect with this life and the next. Most of his sound was not of this world, as exemplified in his piano concerto no. 23 in A major, K.488. Mozart’s Rondo in A minor, K.511 was created while he was grieving over his mother’s death. Which occurred while he was away in Paris.

Tomoko goes on to say, “To Mozart, life was all dreams. He was rich in talent, and was never satisfied with his work. He was always dreaming of something better.” She remarks that Mozart had problems being a child protégé, so that might led to his dreams of a better or different life – and he may have thought that life itself was incomplete.

Mozart plays a special role for Tomoko in her professional career. She played a Mozart concerto for her audition piece when she wanted to stay in the U.S. to study advanced piano. “I played with confidence,” and was able to stay in the university’s program. She asserts, “Mozart is the most difficult composer for piano but also the most enjoyable because of his use of both hands. Balance is hard, and Mozart succeeds in optimizing even-handed performance.”

As a teacher, Tomoko asserts, “Mozart is easy for children but hard for adults; just try his variations.” Tomoko says that many of her students want to play Mozart. She responds to them, “If you want to play him, you have to go through Stravinsky, Alban Berg, and other contemporary composers. Mozart is complicated to learn.”

After playing different composers, Tomoko likes to go back to Mozart: “The experience is pure music.” Tomoko concludes, “I have a natural feeling about Mozart. I can repeat a piece of his twenty times. It gives me freedom.”

Not surprisingly, Tomoko plays strictly Mozart on two complete performance albums and as part of a third one. You can listen to Mozart’s otherworldliness at

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