September 1, 2012

Chopin for every place

Tomoko has many positive impressions and associations with Chopin. About this composer Tomoko states, “Chopin is very quiet. He would hardly touch the keyboard, but he was a good pianist.”

Chopin has struck several personal and site-specific chords with Tomoko.

“When I first arrived in the U.S., I was invited to tea,” Tomoko recalls. “I played Chopin’s Opus 27 #2, which is sometimes played at weddings.” She continues, “I have been playing it all my life. I always play it for encores.”

After a Cambridge conference event while the room was being cleaned up, Tomoko went downstairs and played Chopin. Tomoko remembered, “I felt so much pressure, but I had Chopin.” 

Another time, in the Chopin Museum, Tomoko played his composition “The Island of Majorca” (Raindrop Prelude, Op. 28, No. 15).

In 1945 three early piano pieces of Chopin were discovered in a monastery: numbers 9-11, which he composed at age 7. Tomoko comments, “There are wonderful to give to young students,”

In 1968 Tomoko visited a friend in Florence, and visited a local museum house in a Medici home. There Tomoko asked, “May I use your harpsichord?” The staff let her play Bach’s Prelude & Fugue in C-sharp major, BWV 848 on their antique instrument.  

Tomoko recalls watching a  film about Chopin. “In the movie you can see the ocean from his window, but that’s not really the case. Next door to his place was a monastery, instead, because of his asthma, which was not mentioned in the film. But you can still enjoy the music.”

Tomoko concludes, “Music is like peanuts. Chopin nocturne in D flat minor #2 is one I practice so many times.” You can hear Tomoko perform that piece on her album “Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann” at

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