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RECITAL OF RARITIES

Violinist’s ‘virtuoso fun’

by Mariko Kato

Promising young Japanese-American violinist Ray Iwazumi makes his Tokyo debut at Opera City Recital Hall on March 17. In an e-mail interview, Iwazumi himself described the evening’s program of great Belgian works composed around the turn of the 20th century as an entertaining one, which will combine “elements of . . . history and pure violin virtuoso fun.”

Born in Seattle, Iwazumi is the only violinist in the world to have studied concurrently with Dorothy DeLay and Hyo Kang at The Juilliard School, New York, and Igor Oistrakh at the Brussels Royal Conservatory of Music. He has given acclaimed performances in the U.S. and worldwide, solo and as part of the Ray and Amy Duo, which he formed with his violinist sister Amy. The duo made their Japanese debut in 2004 on NHK-FM.

Iwazumi will give rarely heard performances of works by Belgian composer Eugene Ysaye. He completed musicological research on Ysaye’s “Six sonates pour violon seul” which earned him international recognition and the prestigious Richard F. French Doctoral Prize from The Julliard School. At this recital, Iwazumi will play the Fifth Sonata.

The program displays the “variety and ‘violinistic’ significance” of Ysaye’s wide-ranging repertoire, says Iwazumi, who describes the Fifth Solo Sonata as a “beautiful homage to Impressionism and Symbolism,” while the younger works, the Mazurka and the Paganini Variations, show Ysaye at “his most technically ambitious.”

The recital is completed by a piece by another Belgian composer, Cesar Franck, who greatly influenced Ysaye, allowing him to develop from his earlier works toward the more “mature style” of the Fifth Solo Sonata. In turn, Franck dedicated the A-major Sonata, which will be played at this recital, to his contemporary as a wedding gift.

Ray Iwazumi’s violin recital will take place at Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall on March 17 at 6 p.m. Tickets are 4,000 yen. For more information, contact Duo Japan at (03) 5428-0571 or visit duojapan.com. Iwazumi will be accompanied by pianist Shuku Iwasaki, a professor at Toho Gakuen University.