INTERVIEW WITH MAYUKO KATSUMURA & SPECIAL TICKET OFFER

Japanese violin player Mayuko Katumura will perform later this month in the Purcell Room alongside Noriko Kawai on the piano. We caught up with Mayuko ahead of the concert:

You grew up in Japan, but studied in London and have since gone on to perform all over the world. Can you tell us a bit more about your musical background?

My grandfather (my mother’s side) was a great classical music lover and every weekend at the family-get-together since I was a baby, I used to listen to LPs of all the major violin concertos. From this very early introduction to classical music,  I have never thought of any other profession than as a violinist.

When I studied at the music high school in Tokyo, I was lucky to have a wonderful violin teacher who studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He recommended I study with Professor Yfrah Neaman at the Guildhall, who was his teacher.  So I came to London when I was 19 and studied with Yfrah for 6 years. It must have been difficult for him to talk with me at first as I did not speak English at all then. However, I was surrounded by kind, generous English friends at the Guildhall and I soon got used to all the aspect of living in London

What’s your earliest musical memory?
At my grandparents at the weekends, when my mother was trying to make me have an afternoon nap, she always play the LP of Schubert’s string quartet “ Death and Maiden “. When she let me listen to this, I always knew I was going to be left on my own while everybody else was together in the other room. I was only 2 years old. However, this memory stays very clear in my mind, and I still feel the same loneliness whenever I listen to this quartet!

What are you particularly looking forward to about your forthcoming concert at Southbank Centre? 
It is first time for me to perform at the Purcell Room, and I am very excited about it, as ever since I came to England and attended concerts at the Southbank Centre, I was saying to myself that I want to perform in this small and intimate hall in the future.

Is there a piece of music you would pick out as one of the ‘best’ works ever written? 
I would say Bach’s Chaconne from the Partita no. 2

What other talent or skill would you like to possess? 
I always imagine what would happen if I could speak French and German when I woke up next morning! It took 14 years for me to learn English, so I really wish I had a talent for languages!

If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?
Henryk Szeryng (I am a big fan) presented by Mr. Bean

What is the most played piece of music on your mp3 player or in your CD collection?
Currently it is Henryk Szeryng playing Handel’s Sonata in D. His playing is really heavenly.

Do you have any strange rituals you carry out before or after you perform? 
I always stretch out my legs like a Sumo wrestler before wearing my concert dress. This action is called “Matawari “in the Sumo world, and is very important in preparation for the fight!

We are a very limited number of tickets available at 50% discount. Simply quote the word ‘MAYUKO’ over the phone or online into the promo-code box on the event page before choosing your seats.

For more information about the concert and to book your tickets  click here

MAYUKO KATSUMURA & NORIKO KAWAI PERFORM AT SOUTHBANK CENTRE

On 26th September, we welcome two extremely talented Japanese musicians, Mayuko Katsumura and Noriko Kawai, to Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room. Violinist Mayuko, a major prize winner in national music competitions in Japan, will be performing alongside Noriko Kawai on the piano.

For a sneak preview of what’s in store, you can listen to this audio clip of Mayuko performing a 2nd movement of the Shostakovich Violin Concerto no.1 with the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in March earlier this year.

Listen to Mayuko Katsumura – live at Abbey Road studio.

Click here for more info and to book tickets

‘Please join us and help Japan’: Sapporo Symphony Orchestra concert in aid of Japan earthquake and tsunami victims

Sapporo Symphony Orchestra have announced that their Royal Festival Hall concert on Monday 23 May will be in aid of victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The orchestra’s players and tour management will not take any payment for the performance, and all ticket proceeds will be shared between the Japanese Red Cross Society and Japan Society Tohoku Earthquake Relief Fund.

They perform a beautiful programme: Takmitsu’s How slow the wind, Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No.5, under conductor Tadaaki Otaka.

‘It was an unforeseen and terrible disaster, from which all Japanese people are working extremely hard to recover. We, the musicians, wish to turn our London appearance into a benefit concert to support the vital relief efforts in our country. Please join us and help Japan! Thank you.’ (Tadaaki Otaka)

Click here to book.