February 28, 2014

The Blue Velvet Album

As can be imagined, Tomoko has hundreds of musical memories, some of which she stores in a small blue velvet photo album. Here is a sampling of those photo memories.

Tomoko is wearing a long organza white dress as she is seated playing a grand piano. A tall flower bouquet stands in the background of the stage where she is performing. This Tokyo concert took place soon after Tomoko graduated from the University of Tokyo as a music major. There were very few opportunities at that time for a young woman to have a concert performance. 

Tomoko is bundled in a heavy pale coat as she checks her airplane itinerary. She is leaving family and friends to go to the United States. She was able to work with the UCLA opera theater to get this opportunity. 

Tomoko is dressed in a pale flowered kimono, playing a board game at a peer’s home. It’s the Christmas break for the Conservatory of San Francisco where her friend and Tomoko attend.

Tomoko is being interviewed on KQED television by UCLA professor Herbert Jan Popper. She is talking about her musical background and dreams in the U.S. Later in the show she performs Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody A minor #11 on the studio piano.

Tomoko is talking with renown cellist Pablo Casals at Arizona State University, where a library is being dedicated to him. He was in his 90s at the time, and was still performing. Tomoko went with a couple of Conservatory girl friends to visit Arizona, and see him. 

Tomoko’s daughter Beata is a toddler, sitting at her mother’s piano at home. While Beata became a professional ice skater, she enjoys playing the piano, and performed at a concert honoring her mother’s piano teaching.

Tomoko and her violinist friend Ernestine Riedel Chihuaria  are accepting bouquets at the end of one of their concerts. Tomoko met Ernestine in 1968 through the Peninsula Symphony. Ernestine needed an accompanist at the last minute, and Tomoko performed with her at the DeYoung Museum. They continued to perform together for 30 years.

Tomoko is holding a resolution from the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women, who recognized her cultural contributions to the San Francisco area.  On either side are her students, who are smiling at Tomoko’s honor. In their honoring speech, the commission concluded that Tomoko made it her life’s work to share the joy and serenity that music offers its listeners, include to homeless individuals in a Project Homeless Connect event.

No comments:

Post a Comment