Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years after...

Today is the 10th anniversary since the September 11th attacks, and I would like to express my sincere sympathy for the victims of the tragedy with the following performance.

At that time I didn't have many friends in New York nor even in the USA, but the terrible images shown on TV broke my heart and frightened me for many days. I still remember clearly that time, because it was a week after I started living in Paris.

I had just turned 19 and was totally inexperienced and ignorant in terms of "living alone" in addition to not being fluent in French, but I had to find an apartment, open a bank account, get a visa, register at the Conservatoire, all by myself. As I had so many difficulties in everything, I thought my life was going to collapse at some point!

Actually, before I left Japan, my father had told me the following:
"if you can't achieve any success on your piano within the next two years, you will have to give up your dream to be a professional pianist and come back to Japan to study something else!"

I don't think I gave a clear answer to it, because I really didn't want to give up my dream, but I often remembered his words in my head, so I forced myself to go forward whatever the problems were and gave all my energy to studying the music and absorbing all that I learned and experienced in my new surroundings.

And at the end of the "two years", I went to the Cleveland Competition -it was my second experience of entering in a big international piano competition- and I won the 1st my great surprise!

Suddenly my life changed completely and I started a concert career, remaining a student at the Paris Conservatoire. I confronted some difficulties at the beginning (frequent traveling, different manners and conditions of concert organisation, the vast repertoire I had to learn, concert reviews, etc), but the beautiful encounters and the emotional moments that I had in each place became my good fortune and encouraged me a lot.

When I think of these last 10 years, I can't help but feel very lucky and happy, and say how grateful I am to all people who have supported me and inspired me.

I will keep giving my efforts to make beautiful and magical moments with the music and going on my way with the motto
"一期一会(Ichi-go ichi-e)".

Thank you.
Kotaro Fukuma

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reviews of the concert in Annecy

Voici les critiques sur mon concert à Annecy.
(English translation below)

Concert Classic

... le Japonais Kotaro Fukuma (29 ans) est une boule de feu qui enflamme le public dans un programme Liszt abouti. Outre une vélocité à bousculer les montagnes (La Chasse, Ronde des Lutins), il fait preuve d’un sens musical sans faille (La Campanella, Un Sospiro) et d’une fluidité sonore accordée à l’esprit des œuvres.
- Michel Le Naour

... Le pianiste nippon dévoile une sincérité et une délicatesse certaines. Les tableaux se juxtaposent en une fresque pastel. La démonstration technique se mêle à l’inspiration poétique dans les Trois Etudes S 144. La Grande Etude de perfectionnement «Ab irato» se caractérise par une carrure frôlant la rudesse. Fukuma réserve les miroitements de lumière aux Deux Etudes S 145, avant de faire éclater la pyrotechnie de deux des Grandes Etudes de Paganini. Le public est conquis par sa sensibilité.
- Gilles Charlassier

...Japanese pianist Kotaro Fukuma (29 years of age) played a thoroughly accomplished Liszt programme with an inner fire which enthused his audience. Besides his astounding virtuosity (La chasse, Ronde des Lutins) he proved to be a flawless musician (La Campanella, Un Sospiro), always choosing from a vast range of colours the best suited to each piece.

...The Japanese pianist played with utter sincerity and delicacy of feeling. The [Liszt] pieces followed each other as so many juxtaposed scenes in a pastel fresco. Technical virtuosity went hand in hand with poetic inspiration in the three Etudes S 144. The Grande Etude de Perfectionnement Ab irato was rendered with pianistic might appropriately tinged with the roughness of anger. Fukuma suffused the two Etudes S 145 with shimmering light, before projecting a display of pyrotechnics in the two Grandes Etudes de Paganini. His musical sensitivity totally won over the public.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Annecy Classic Festival

I just came back home from Annecy, where I had a lot of wonderful and beautiful experiences!

On August 29th, I played in the concert "Nuit du Piano" at the Annecy Classic Festival, which featured 4 young pianists -Khatia Buniatishvili, Ingolf Wunder, Hyo-Joo Lee and me. It was a great honor for me to share the concert with them and to play in the Imperial Palace again, which is just by the beautiful lake! The last time was back in the Summer 2003, a week after winning the Cleveland Competition. That was a quite special concert for me, but this time was even more special, because it was my 29th birthday and the last concert before the 10th anniversary of my life in Europe! (I arrived in Paris on September 3rd, 2001)

You can watch the performance here after the free registration (name, email address, the place you are).

I stayed until the end of the festival and enjoyed the environment, making excursions to the lake and to the Mont Blanc - Chamonix with some friends. As the weather was just perfect, the shimmering water and the magnificent Alps enchanted me the whole time!

The last two concerts of the festival were held in the Église Sainte Bernadette and featured the St.Petersbourg Philharmonic Orchestra with Maestro Yuri Temirkanov. Their performance of the Tschaikovsky 5th Symphony was absolutely one of my most profound musical experiences and the climax of my Summer 2011!!

Bravo to all the artists & thank you to the Annecy Classic Festival and its enthusiastic audience!