The Chopin Mood. An Interview with Michie Koyama
no-image, The Chopin Mood. An Interview with Michie Koyama
Polish Radio's Róża Światczyńska talks to Competition Juror Michie Koyama the various styles of interpretation by these year's contestants...
Polish Radio's Róża Światczyńska talks to 16th Competition Juror Michie Koyama the various styles of interpretation by these year's contestants
Róża Światczyńska: You won fourth prize at the Chopin Competition 30 years ago. 5 years ago you were a member of the jury for the very first time. How does it felt?
Michie Koyama: Chopin has been with me ever since the competition. I play many of his pieces. Listening to the participants, I understand their emotions; I understand how trying the performance is for them. At the same time, I'm learning quite a bit, because many of them have very interesting ideas for interpretation, we often discussed them with the other jurors. It was an enriching experience. Just as the opportunity to listen to Chopin being played on the different pianos available here at the competition. Each of them sounded different, and each pianist extracted a different sound, that is also inspiring.
RŚ: Before you came to Warsaw, you had already won a prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Why did you decide to take part in the Chopin Competition?
MK: Chopin is an exceptional composer for every pianist. I had performed his music in Japan, but I dreamt of playing in Poland. After the competition in Moscow, I already knew what competition stress meant. I will never forget waiting for the results, even if they do not depend only on the performer's skill and preparation. Competition success consists of many components – the player's condition on performance day and that necessary stroke of luck. Still the most important thing for me was to play Chopin in his homeland.
RŚ: Why do the Japanese love Chopin's music so much?
MK: As you know, Japan is called the Land of the Cherry Blossom. These trees bloom in Japan for a week with translucent, delicately pink flowers. It is the embodiment of ethereal beauty and perfection of nature. Just like Chopin's music. We love him for gentleness and elegance, but also for that which is hidden deeper, the emotional essence to which you have to break through, just like to the soul of the Japanese.
RŚ: Japanese pianists are notable for their excellent technical preparation, but also a certain emotional reserve. Is this the influence of Japanese culture?
MK: We have discussed that with the jury. Maybe this reserve also depends on language. Japanese is very monotonous, in contrast to Chinese, with its exceptionally strong intonation. We are all from Asia, but we speak in a completely different manner. We also convey emotions differently. This is influenced by numerous factors, not just culture, e.g. climate. In Japan, the seasons change very gently, without intense contrasts.
RŚ:How would you rate the level of 2010's competition?
MK: The level of the participants was very high that year. Many of them had their own individual style. Comparing them was unusually interesting.
Michie Koyama interviewed by Róża Światczyńska (Polish Public Radio), October 2010
This article comes from the Chopin Express gazette published for the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition by Adam Mickiewicz Institute and Gramophone.