November 27, 2014

Thankful for partner performers

Tomoko is very thankful for the wonderful musicians with whom she performed. They are each special and unique. Here are three of her outstanding ones.

George Duke was a famous jazz musician who passed away in 2013. Tomoko remembered him from 1967. "George lived in Marin City, and attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  At the school's recital I performed Brahms and Prokofiev with him." Tomoko recalls his personality. "Some of the students didn't have cars, but he did -- and he gave rides. He was very humble and sweet."

One of Tomoko's favorite musical friends is violinist Ernestine Riedel Chihuaria, whom she met in 1968 through the Peninsula Symphony south of San Francisco. Tomoko was her last-minute accompanist at the De Young Museum, and continued to perform together for thirty years.

And then there is Tomoko's daughter Beata, who is a professional skater. Beata learned how to play the piano from an early age, but her passion was ice dancing. "It's good not to have two professional pianists in the family," remarks Tomoko. Nevertheless, at Tomoko's tribute concert in May 2013 she and Beata performed a piano duet, which was very touching.

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