Interview with Miyuki Washimiya

Miyuki Washimiya is no stranger to Singapore, having performed a number of times in Singapore as an accompanist and piano recitalist under the Kris Foundation banner. She studied piano performance at the Conservatoire European Music de paris and Toho Gakuen School of Music.

She has performed in many countries such as Japan, Taiwan, USA, Canada, England, and France. Besides performing at many music festivals, she plays frequently as a soloist with orchestras and as a performer of chamber music.

The Majestic Piano is the MFO's inaugural performance held on 1 June at SOTA Concert Hall. Together with award-winning Japanese pianist Miyuki Washimiya, join us as we bring to life two of the most popular piano concertos ever written. Tickets can be purchased through SISTIC.

This concert is presented by the Kris Foundation.

MFO: Through the invitation of the Kris Foundation, you have performed a number of times in Singapore as an accompanist and piano recitalist, and this June you will be performing with the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra as a concerto soloist. Tell us more about your relationship with Mrs Kris Tan (founder of the Kris Foundation) and how both of you were able to build such a fruitful collaboration together.

Miyuki Washimiya (MW): The first time Kris Tan and I met was through a mutual friend of ours, Composer Tan Chan Boon. I met Chan Boon when I was studying in Paris and he asked me to premiere his piece ‘Reminiscence’ at the Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore in November 2009. Kris was the sponsor of that particular concert. I have worked well with her because she is a broad-minded person and really cares about music. She is also well versed in music and even studies it in her spare time! Having worked with her a number of times, she has provided me with much good advice and is truly supportive in every sense of the word.

MFO: You will be performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major. Can you tell us a bit more about these pieces, and whether they hold any special significance for you as a pianist?

MW: Grieg composed his Piano Concerto in A minor when he was only 25 years old. I like this piece in particular as it has many attractive melodic phrases, which allows me to picture the beautiful scenery of Northern Europe. I am a fan of chamber music and this piece has its fair bits of interactions between the piano and orchestra. Just like chamber musicians having ‘conversations’ with one another, I am looking forward to enjoying ‘conversations’ with the orchestra.

Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ is one of the greatest masterpieces amongst piano concertos. This piece has many facets – at times it functions like a symphony and at other times it feels like chamber music. This makes the concerto very exciting for me to play.

I am happy to play these two pieces with the excellent conductor Maestro Chan Tze Law and the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra.

MFO: You have been a frequent visitor to Singapore over the past few years. Has your view and understanding of the classical music scene in Singapore changed in this time? What are some positive things that you see, and what are some areas that you think could be developed more?

MW: For Japanese audiences, it is difficult for them to accept and understand contemporary classical music. However, I feel that audiences in Singapore are more receptive to all types of classical music. It is wonderful that Singaporean audiences are willing to accept and understand all kinds of music even if it is not popular. I also think that musicians here are able to play a wider spectrum of classical music due to the fact that all kinds and versions of music scores and CDs can be obtained easily in Singapore.

MFO: Lastly, is there any advice that you would like to share with younger musicians who are considering a career in music?

MW: I personally feel that it is important for younger musicians to have many opportunities to perform in front of an audience. Learn from experienced musicians and play together with them. They should also listen to more recordings to improve and enhance their sensibility for music.

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