Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

July 31, 2013 Photoshoot in Amsterdam

“Opening my eyes wide”, something I’ve always been aware about whenever I had a photo shooting in an interview. But this time, I was told by a first-rate photograph to “concentrate on my mouth”, and, when this photograph released the shutter, here was the result.

Yes, this is really me! These pictures were taken in Amsterdam, during a photo shoot for the cover of my new CD, which will be released in October.

Since Holland is the great nation of bicycles, I had the idea to try one out while heading towards the photo session. The only problem was that the bicycles were made to fit the size of normal Dutch people, which was quite huge for me, a Japanese woman! I therefore had a hard time reaching its pedals…

The photographer, Marco Borggreve, takes many pictures of all the famous classical musicians. His first aspiration as a child was to become a guitarist, but after getting injured, he shifted towards photography. Despite working all over the world today, he remains a loving father, and tries to stay in Amsterdam as often as possible to see his three young children as they wake up in the morning.

The pictures he takes not only reflect his warm and sincere character, but also distinguish each artist’s special characteristics and capture their facial expressions at such a perfect timing that a peaceful atmosphere is instantly created.

So, you will be seeing these pictures on programs and flyers of my upcoming concerts… hoping that you will like the new version of Momo Kodama!

With photographer Marco Borggreve and hair/make up artist Ms. Sanne

Marco’s website:
http://marcoborggreve.com

February 22, 2013 An Uncommon Announcement

I found this poster in the metro: “The Day of Depression” at the Folies Bergère (a traditional music hall built in the Belle Epoque in the end of the 19th century). 
Famous actors and singers will each sing a song or read out a poem, the saddest one they know. It is recommended to be clothed as sober as possible. Two guests will be chosen by lottery and win a trip to the town of Lourdes in France (known for its spring waters, and for being a major place of Catholic pilgrimage).

And this event is supported by:
Kleenex tissue paper (to wipe your tears?) Chocolate spread Nutella (in Europe, one says to eat chocolate is good for the health) Fabric softener manufacturer (well it’s true your feelings calm down when you wrap yourself up in a fluffy blanket or sweater)
The French people, who are good at enjoying life, are also able to lightly play out their “depression-prone mood” with just a little humor, and artistically! The French composers Debussy and Ravel as well, when expressing a sad tune, somehow maintained lightness without falling into pathos.

By the way, here is a painting by well-known French painter Manet entitled “the Bar at the Folies Bergere”.

February 11, 2013 The Ever-Important “Pause” in Music and in Life

Heavy snow had been forecast on the day I was to arrive at Tokyo from Paris, and I landed there wearing my fluffy coat, boots, muffler, and a hat as if I were to go to the moon.

On the contrary, the weather in Tokyo was fine. With a temperature of 15℃, I felt somewhat destabilized, but decided to enjoy the blue sky which you can hardly see in Paris, and headed to rehearsal.

Chamber music was scheduled this time at the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan in Ueno, with the wonderful players of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. The program consisted of the French impressionist composers Debussy, Ravel and Chausson.

The nickname of the string quartet I played with is “Pause Quartet”. For this quartet known for their endeavor to practice, taking the middle, a pause (break), is also very important. And as always, it’s a happy coffee time with lots of rare sweets and snacks.

And! From Mr. Shogo Kariyazaki, one ikebana artist whom I do like and respect, gorgeous flowers were delivered to the backstage room. I often go to Mr. Kariyazaki’s exhibitions in Paris or Tokyo, and get much inspired by his prodigious sensitivity toward what “beauty” means. With this heart-warming work of art of purple tinged deep pink roses, “Shogo Elegant”, the tasteless backstage room lightened up instantly, literally blooming!

I enjoyed playing at the concert as well, and had a party in the backstage afterward with champagne! Cheers!! 

横山さん、小林さん、及川さん、吉岡さん、長谷部さん

February 8, 2013 Happenings at the “Festival Follles Journees de Nantes”

February always arrives together with the music festival of “la Folle Journée de Nantes”!
This music festival gathering tens of thousands of people, and which has also been held for the past few years in Japan at the Tokyo International Forum during the May holidays, originally started in France, in the town of Nantes.

Celebrating its 19th anniversary this year and with its increasing popularity, people are said to stand in line the night before the tickets are put on sale. And I heard the festival clerks served them coffee! (For that matter, the Grand Palais, due to its massive crowds, stayed open 24 hours this week during the last two days of Hopper’s retrospective. Hot drinks, cookies, and vitamins were distributed to the people queuing in the cold wave, in the middle of the night… and as what might have been expected of Paris, the city of fashion, even hand cream was handed out!)

My sister also participated for the first time this year to la Folle Journée, where we were to interpret a piano duo together. But that unexpectedly turned out to be quite an adventure!

As you may as well know, you get to perform several times per day at this music festival. My first concert was scheduled at 2pm. My sister, who had had a concert in Munich, Germany, the previous day, was to arrive at Nantes via Brussels at 11am. However, her flight was cancelled because of the pilot being sick, so she had to change her means of transportation and came by train.

She arrived at the airport of Nantes at, wait for it…10 minutes before the concert started! So both managers got in touch for a while, and well, on our side, we had to make an announcement to the guests in a hurry, explaining the matter at hand.
While waiting for my sister who had to change into her stage dress on the train and then rush to the concert hall, I performed a couple of solo pieces such as Messiaen.

My sister finally reached the hall 15 minutes late. From her snow boots into stage shoes and…dash! We were able to perform half of the program that had been scheduled. “Both the concert and the happening were great”, according to our guests who got to enjoy the incident! That indeed was a folle journée, “a crazy day”! We will be playing again at the same music festival this coming May, in Tokyo and Biwako.
Hoping to see you there!

February 1, 2013 Japan in Paris?

Paris was unusually covered with snow this January. In situations like these, Paris people often go to exhibitions in order to warm up their hearts. What greatly impressed me this month was, well, all from Japan!

The first event was the Hiroshige/Van Gogh Exhibition held at La Pinacothèque in Place de la Madeleine. Their pictures were put in comparison in one of the buildings, a project to see how much Van Gogh was influenced by Hiroshige. Hiroshige’s delicate lines are, façon de Van Gogh, violently expressed…

Well that indeed was interesting in itself, but I was especially touched by an alignment of Hiroshige’s Ukiyoe that I saw in the next building. His concern toward even the smallest details, a mystery like a meditation through nature. And the hospitality and kindness of the Japanese — I thought I was being impressed many a time because of the very fact I was Japanese, but it came out the foreign people around me also were in admiration.

Hiroshige was born in 1797, the same year as Schubert. Schubert expressed the theme of “the traveler” through his music and lieder, just as Hiroshige in Japan praised the beauty of nature in his country.

The second event was at the Louvres, where a film about the sculptor Susumu Shingu was screened. Shingu-san, called the “Poet of the wind”, is a relative on my mother’s side. On the ceiling of the Kansai airport, in front of Hermes in Ginza, and the bell of Kunitachi College of Music… his works which go round and round riding upon the wind can be found all around the world. Some of them have recently been exhibited at the park of the Tuileries in Paris.

“Sinfonietta of Light” in the park of the Tuileries

Shingu-san, in his childhood, is said to have been doing all sorts of experiments with water even in his bath, or played with the wind whenever he went outside. At the present time and 70 years of age, he’s only turned “seven years old times ten”, and he is the kind of man who constantly has a dream and makes it true, says his friend and architect Renzo Piano. His current dream is the “Breathing Earth” (an art center created merely with wind-power). Wind energy — an exhibition hall, a theater, a concert hall, a restaurant… a place like heaven for artists. When you actually sit in front of his works, and, according to the direction or the force of the wind, watch how they move as if they were dancing and diving in various tempos, or flying, you eventually feel like becoming one with nature. And you even get to “see” the wind, which you had so far only felt as “cold” or “strong”, in a different way. Come to think of it, catching a sense of what can’t be seen, perceiving the expanse of nature — that means there’s something in common with music there!

http://breathing-earth.de/

http://susumushingu.com/

With Shingu-san 

January 1, 2013 HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

I wish you from my heart a very inspired New Year!
At the beginning of each year, there are always new things which I plan to do.
This year, I decided to start writing a very simple diary – mon « petit journal » – to share with you the wonderful things I experienced through music… and all things arround music which are equally important.

Momo Kodama

To my Japanese friends:

明けましておめでとうございます。

皆様にとって、新しい一年がひらめきに満ちた年でありますよう、心からお祈り 申し上げます。

一年のスタートにはいつでも、「今年こそ!」と思うことが沢山ありますが、今 年はその中から、簡単な"お便り"を始めさせていただくことにしました。

色々な場所で体験したこと、思ったことなどを、この場で皆さんにお伝えできれ ばと思っています!

児玉桃

外国育ちの姉と私に、母が「日本の伝統を伝えなくては」と、お正月にはいつもおせ ちとお雑煮を作ってくれます。
As my sister and I grew up in Europe, on New Year day, our mother would cook the traditional Japanese dishes to preserve our tradition.
Here are some examples of foods used in preparing Osechi-ryōri (御節料理 or お節料理), traditional Japanese New Year dishes:

Zōni (雑煮), a soup of mochi rice cakes in broth. First thing to eat on New Year day.
Konbu (昆布), seaweed – symbolizes joy
Gobō (牛蒡 or ゴボウ), burdock root – longevity
Kuro-mame (黒豆), black soy beans – health
Kazunoko (数の子), herring roe – fertility
Tazukuri (田作り), dried anchovies – abundant harvest

Each dish has its meaning-this is how 2013 started !

JULY-AUGUST 2014 Summer Festivals 2014 Part 1

あっという間に夏も過ぎ、気がつけば、この「ジュルナル」もすっかりご無沙汰しました。 皆さま、いかがお過ごしでしょうか。

音楽家にとって、正式な音楽シーズンは6月で終わり。7月から、「夏の音楽祭」の シーズンに入ります。
今年の夏は、東京で始まり、ヨーロッパに移って、アメリカで締めました。 

ミューザ川崎
まずは、ミューザ川崎の夏のカーニバル。
プログラムは、秋山和慶先生指揮で、東京交響楽団とサン=サーンスの「動物の謝肉祭」。
谷川俊太郎先生のウイットに富んだナレーションで、姪のカリン・K・ナガノと2台の ピアノで参加しました。
…なんといっても、大勢の子供たちが聴いているときの嬉しそうな表情が印象的!
一緒に体を揺らしたり、指揮してみたり…小さい時に生の音楽を聴くことは、大人に なった時の感受性に絶大な影響があると信じている私には、とても感動的でした。

マエストロ秋山、谷川先生、カリンと。カリンは、これが日本デビュー。 沢山の親友や家族が駆けつけてくれて楽しい思い出になったようです。

神 戸
数日後、神戸で大阪フィルハーモニー交響楽団、準・メルクル指揮とサン=サーンスの 協奏曲を演奏させていただき、その夜の羽田発でドイツの保養地、バート・キシンゲンへ。

バート・キシンゲン(ドイツ)
ここは、沢山の温泉のまんなかにあるコンサートホールや教会で、3週間にわたる音楽祭が行われています。お客様の平均年齢はかなり高いですが、演奏のあとの、「ブラボー」は、若い人に負けないほどパワフル!

バート・キシンゲン

JULY-AUGUST 2014 Summer Festivals 2014 Part 2

ラ・ロックダンテロン(南フランス)
パリに戻ると、早速スペインから、ピアニストのルイス・フェルナンド・ペレスが 到着。

プロヴァンスの奥座敷とよばれるラ・ロックダンテロン音楽祭で弾く「2台のピアノのプログラム」の練習開始です。この音楽祭は、「ピアノのメッカ」とよばれ、世界中からピアニストが集まる大きな野外コンサート。
練習は、エアコン取り付け不可能なパリの我が家で。ゆで蛸になりながらふたり、
アイスクリームとコカコーラで乗りきりました。
さすが、カルメンと闘牛の国からきたルイス。本番になると、その血の燃えたぎる情熱が登場!

夕方になると、蝉や鳥の声もまじり、自然と一体となって音楽が流れ、
夏休みですっかりリラックスしたお客様も音楽を楽しむ

ポミエー音楽祭
その数日後は若手音楽家、ラ・マルカ兄弟が主催するリヨンの近くの小さな村の修道院で、「音楽を楽しむ週末」。10世紀に建った古い壁に響くモーツァルトやベートーヴェンを楽しみ、夜は、その地方で作られたワインと食事を皆で楽しむのです。
アーティストの送迎から切符の手配まで、兄弟のファミリーや友人が受け持っての手作り音楽祭。
エアコンがないため湿気も多く、本番中にヴィオラの弦がプチンと切れてしまい演奏中断。
こういうハプニングも全て含め、お客様は楽しんでいたようです。

サンフランシスコ
姉の麻里と主人のケント・ナガノの家はここにあるのですが、留守にすることが多いので…と、普段お世話になってるご近所さんへの感謝の気持ちから始めたのが、この音楽祭です。
音楽の都ウイーンからウィーン・フィルのメンバーを集め、近くのクラブ・ハウスで「音楽の贈り物」(音楽祭)を主催しています。当初一回きりのつもりだったのですが、皆さんのリクエストでリピート。なんと今年で8回目を迎えました。

それからは、ヨーロッパのあちこちから集まった友人の音楽家達が、ホスト・
ファミリーを引き受けてくださるご近所のお宅に泊まり、毎日、毎日ちがったお家で素晴らしいランチとディナーをご馳走になりながら、3日間好きなだけリハーサルをするのです。

そして、いざ、コンサートの週。 今年のテーマは、「バイオリンの詩人」。

ベテランのチョーリャン・リン、ドイツの希望の星ベロニカ・エベルレ、エリザベート・コンクール優勝ホヤホヤのロシアのバラノフ、アメリカの才能あふれるケネス君、ベルリン・フィルのコントラバス奏者ディクソンさん、日本からは、ハイフェッツの愛弟子だった亀井由紀子さん、そしてチェロのハイモビツによる、素晴らしいコンサートが4日間にわたり繰り広げられました。

素晴らしい音楽家たち、地域の心暖まるボランティア・ケア、姉の行動力が見事に調和して、今年の音楽祭も大成功のうちに幕を閉じました。
そして、今年は姪のカリンも初めて本格的に参加。母 麻里との連弾やデビューCDにも収録されているモーツァルトのコンチェルトを演奏。

私の大好きな、素晴らしいバイオリニスト、チョーリャン・リンと。
モーツアルト、ラヴェルを演奏させていただいたあとで

そのあと
とはいえ…やはり、新しいシーズンが始まる前には少し休暇が必要。
数日サンフランシスコに残り、ピアノを離れて街を観光や、姉が案内してくれた
美味しいステーキなどを楽しみました。
海岸を歩きながら夏を振り返り、ゆとりのある夏休みシーズンに、好きな音楽仲間と集まって自然の流れのなかで音楽する楽しさを改めて考えながら、ふと思うのです。
演奏する立場からも聴く立場からも、こういう時間は、とても特別で意義深い体験。

日本ならではの、夏の室内楽音楽祭も、きっと美しい自然の中で、色々な可能性があって、素敵でしょうね。
是非、近いどこかで独自の音楽祭を実現してみたいと願っています…

音楽祭のショット