Kimiko performed the first 12 Preludes and Fugues of J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Volume 1, at the Manifold Recording Studio in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Guests were invited to attend the performance as a modern day musical Salon. The piano is a Bösendorfer 280. Enjoy the video, courtesy of Michael Tiemann and the Red Hat film crew.
Kimiko Ishizaka News
During her recent visit to the Bösendorfer factory in Austria, Kimiko was invited to test the yet unfinished "Opus 50 000", the fifty-thousandth piano that the company has created in their 185 year history. Here is the video.
The Beethovenfest in Bonn is now taking reservations for the free concert in the Post Tower, featuring Kimiko Ishizaka and Bach. This is the first concert of the "Twelve Tones of Bach" tour, and getting a reservation now is the only way to attend the concert live. It will sell out, and tickets are not available through the Kickstarter. So, if you want to see Kimiko in Bonn, better make your reservation! The program will include selections from the Well-Tempered Clavier, and the Goldberg Variations (without repeats).
Observe. Hack. Make. is the premier maker and hacker festival in Europe, and it took place in Northern Holland from July 31 to August 4, 2013. Kimiko Ishizaka performed Bach and Chopin for an audience of nearly 2,000 extremely enthusiastic music fans. This was Kimiko's first performance of the complete set of 12 Etudes, op. 10, of Chopin. Video of the performance can be found here.
Anybody can love the Goldberg Variations. They're an excellent way to make Bach's music accessible to people who might not otherwise listen to a lot of Bach or Classical music. Here's some anecdotal proof. Here's a tweet that reveals Kimiko Ishizaka's Goldbergs to be equal in popularity with Iron Maiden and Megadeth, at least for one listener =)
Kimiko Ishizaka is an experienced soloist with orchestra, even if her focus in recent times has been on the solo piano repertoire. Here are reviews from performances of Mozart and Beethoven piano concerti from some years ago. Kimiko's concerto repertoire also includes the Grieg Concerto, Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3, and Brahms Concerto No. 1
1996, Classical Philharmonie Telekom, Mozart Piano Concerti No. 3 (KV 40) in D major, No. 4 (KV 41) in G major
a proper fire was sparked by the young pianist from Bonn, Kimiko Ishizaka, and illustrated what kinds of possibilities of interpretation lie within both piano concerti (KV 40 and 41), which can factually be counted among the lighter and more playful repertoire. She bravely tackled her part, enchanted through coy and peppery playfulness, mastered the trills and figurework perfectly securely, and in the cadenzas, developed a measure of bravura, without crossing the borders of so-called good taste.
Her sensitive cultured touch revealed itself especially in the andante movements, in which she was completely able to convey the mood of the later concerti. For the encore, she shaped the first movement of the Haydn Sonate in B Minor, No. 32 in her own style, dry and energetic.
1999, Hofgartenorchester, University Bonn, Beethoven Concerto No. 4
The orchestra managed to obtain the pianist Kimiko Ishizaka, from Bonn, whose interpretation gave her part its own dimensions. With technical bravado, she proved great courage and energy, especially in the extended solo cadenza in the frist movement, where she showed her intuition for the sounding out of extremes, reaching from the starkly lyrical to the incessently insistant moments.
Kimiko Ishizaka's premiere performance of the Chopin Etudes op. 10 (#1-8) was well received by music critic Guido Krawinkel writing for the Bonner General-Anzeiger. The concert took place on April 14, 2013, in Haus Bachem, Königswinter, and featured 10 of the 24 Préludes by Chopin, as well as Bach's Goldberg Variations.
[Ishizaka] opened the evening with excerpts from Chopin's Préludes op. 28 and Etudes op. 10 and showed not only her formidable technique, but also much feeling and sensibility for the subtle tones between the notes.
But Ishizaka's virtuosic opening wasn't just an athletic showcase. The passionate weightlifter, who after all made it all the way to German Vice-champion, proved herself to be less a muscle man than a sensitive interpreter.
And of her Goldberg Variations:
Here Ishizaka was naturally in her element, and played the 30 variations with a vast freshness and capacity for feeling
With Kimiko's final performance of the Well-Tempered Clavier in the 1901 Arts Club on January 30, 2013, the world tour has finished. The reviews of the London performance were all very positive, here are some excerpts:
Robert Hugill wrote: "This was an evening of contrasts, because innately Ishizaka seems a very intense, poetic player and her rendering of some of the preludes was intensely moving and not a little romantic. But her command of structure in the fugues went beyond impressive, she was able to bring poetry to the fugues without blurring their structure. Some of the minor key fugues in particular were most glorious in their intensity. She was also open to the other-worldly and mysterious aspects of Bach's art, bringing out the strange intense worlds which some of the fugues go into."
Frances Wilson wrote: "Ms Ishizaka eschewed the pedal throughout, though not through any wish to present a historically authentic performance. Rather, she did not need it: her superior legato technique created some exquisite cantabile playing, especially in the slow movements, while sprightly passagework and lively tempi gave the suggestion of the harpsichord in the rapid movements."
And Susan Moisan wrote: "Ishizaka confidently and with great style demonstrated the beauty of the flow, whilst maintaining the integrity of the separate pieces and captivating her audience so that they responded with a passion for the music that was plain to see and demonstrated by a standing ovation."
On the eve of the final concert in the Well-Tempered Clavier world tour, the CrossEyedPiano blog has posted an interview with Kimiko Ishizaka exploring her early influences and the connection between sports and music.
The inspiration to play piano came to me at the age of four when my mother first placed my tiny hands on the keyboard and pushed my fingers down with hers, thus teaching me the first piece I learned, the Minuet BWV 114 from Anna Magdalena’s Notebook, which at that time we still believed to be a piece by J.S. Bach. I say inspiration, but really it was a decision: a decision, that I would be a pianist, which was probably made before I was born.
Read the rest at CrossEyedPiano.com. Some tickets are still available for Wednesday's concert at the 1901 Arts Club, London.
Chopin's 24 Preludes, op. 28, are said to be inspired by Bach's own cycles through all of the major and minor keys. Audiences in Germany will have the chance to enjoy both works on the same program, three times in December 2012, and once in March 2013. The works are the newest addition to Kimiko Ishizaka's performance repertoire, and provide a rich, passionate, and virtuostic conclusion to the program that features a selection of preludes and fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Volume 1.
These performances are currently planned: