Tours of Brazil and Japan

iPhone autographed

My week in Tokyo is over. I’m about to leave and get on another very long flight. It was one of the biggest challenges I could give myself: my first performances ever of Brahms’ First Piano Concerto with the Japan Philharmonic in Suntory Hall; and two huge recitals on consecutive days with only one day off (to practise) after the concerto performances. I played the big Scarlatti/Spanish programme that I performed last fall and will repeat at the Edinburgh Festival in August; and Bach’s Goldberg Variations last night. I think that was enough for four days. It mirrors the kind of thing I do at my own Trasimeno Music Festival in Italy every summer (this year I make 6 different appearances in 7 days, repeating some programmes twice in one day). Sometimes I think I’m crazy to give myself such work. But then it’s very satisfying, and the people of Tokyo seemed very happy (even having me sign their iPhones!). Thank you to the Japan Philharmonic and Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen for the great collaboration in the Brahms. I hope now to play it often to gain more experience with it. I still find it hard to believe that I actually did it! After all these years of wanting to……

I haven’t written for ages because I was so busy preparing all of that and giving other concerts along the way. Brazil was also a good week: three performances of Mozart K.503 with the Sao Paolo Symphony and Sir Richard Armstrong who was a great pleasure to work with for the first time; and the complete Art of Fugue — a mere trifle. I have had electronic pianos in my hotel rooms in order to work at all hours. Here in Tokyo, after giving one recital, I would return to my room and do several more hours practise for the next day—working until 1 am. Fortunately I was able to sleep until noon after that. Nothing happens without the work. Next up is Vancouver where I have two more brand new concertos to play, and I still have much work to do on them. But once it’s done it’s done and then I have them in my repertoire for the coming years. Nothing worse than pianists who play the same old pieces over and over again. OK, I must run to my flight!