Renowned pianist Franz Liszt has been described as a pacesetter in musical history. During the 1840s he performed superhuman feats at the piano, overwhelming the European public and impressing musicians as much as concert-goers.
To celebrate his 200th birthday, a concert of his work will be performed on Sat., Jan. 14 at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville.
Sayuri Kubota’s piano recital will feature the music of Liszt as well as that of some of her favorite composers including Schumann and Chopin.
Schumann wrote that Liszt “enmeshed every member of the audience with his art and did with them as he willed.” Brahms later said, “Whoever has not heard Liszt cannot speak of piano playing.”
Just like Liszt, Kubota’s passion for music also started at a young age. She grew up in Tokyo Japan and when she was just two years old she would tag along while her older sister went to piano lessons.
“I really wanted to play then but the piano teacher told me I had to wait until I turned four,” she recalled.
On the day Kubota turned four years old, she had her very first piano lesson and has been passionate about playing piano every since. She said she always longed to be a concert pianist but her wise piano instructor advised her to pursue another career.
“To make a living as a pianist is very tough … you have to be the best.”
Kubota followed her teacher’s advice and instead of being a professional pianist she got her teaching degree but she admitted her first love has always been piano. In 1992 she moved to Canada where she learned English and then upgraded her teacher training, getting her masters degree at UVic. Seven years ago she made her way to Nanaimo where she teaches high school math, but Kubota felt she was missing something and resumed taking piano lessons with Teresa Marusarz-Borek. She now performs regularly in recitals and master classes in Nanaimo and has inspired her eight year old son to study piano.
“When he was four he started lessons but he wasn’t ready. A year and a half ago he tried again and now he practices every day just like me,” she said.
Kubota said her son knows all of her pieces but he enjoys playing all types of music. She said she learned to play pop and jazz but she is always drawn to the classics.
You can hear Kubota perform the classics at her recital Jan. 14 at 2 p.m. at the McMillan Arts Centre. Admission is by donation with all proceeds going to the Oceanside Arts Council.