April 6, 2013

A little traveling music

Tomoko has traveled a lot in her life, starting with her emigration from Japan after the Second World War in order to pursue her musical dream. Here are some of her experiences, which have enriched her musical performance. Indeed, Tomoko asserts, “Without music you don’t see as much of the world.”

For instance, in 1967, Tomoko visited Bruges in Belgium. There she saw Flemish painting, and was impressed with their detail and line quality. She also remarks, “Every artist is saying something.” Tomoko prefers analyzing the art itself rather than reading the museum’s captions. Likewise, each composer has something to say, which is Tomoko’s job to explore and interpret for the listener. When she herself goes to a concert, she tends not to read the notes but rather interpret the music for herself.

In 1968 Tomoko visited a friend in Florence. There she visited a Medici house. She asked, “May I use your harpsichord?”  And they let her do it.  Tomoko also played the instrument at the Chopin Museum.

On a personal note, Tomoko traveled in Europe in the late 1960s to visit music patrons, who were helping her with contacts and networking. At a Hungarian dance party where she met her future husband, a Hungarian refugee. She went on to marry in 1970 in Salzburg.

Tomoko has traveled with their daughter, who became a competitive skater. Tomoko’s own competition experience helped her daughter feel comfortable and poised on the road.

Not only the destination but also the transport itself is to be enjoyed, according to Tomoko. “Everyone should have a train experience, or say ‘Bon voyage’ on a boat.” She continues, “Every single moment of life is valuable. You have to feel it.” That feeling of life is translated in Tomoko’s performance.