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Classical majesty

by Edan Corkill

Violinist Ken Aiso has been based in England since 1992, but he’s back in his native Japan this month for what has become an annual series of performances. This year he will play mainly unaccompanied violin sonatas at venues including Tokyo Bunka Kaikan in Ueno.

A professional soloist and chamber musician, Aiso spends up to half the year touring Europe, and occasionally the United States. He also teaches at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

“I think the highlight of my career so far has been performing at an official dinner hosted by Queen Elizabeth II for the Emperor and Empress of Japan at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 1998,” Aiso told The Japan Times.

For the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan recital he has chosen four closely related pieces. The evening will start with Romanian composer George Enescu’s Prelude Op. 9 and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonata No. 3 for Violin Solo C Major BWV1005. The last piece of the night will be Bela Bartok’s Sonata for Violin Solo, commissioned by one of Enescu’s students, the violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Further tying the pieces together is the fact that before composing his own sonata, Bartok heard Menuhin play Bach’s sonata.

“I think the audience should be able to detect the connections when they listen to these pieces together,” says Aiso.

He has also included one lighter piece, Mozart’s Duo for Violin and Viola G major KV423, which will be performed with Aiso’s regular collaborator Kenta Matsumi. Also, a recording on CD of Bach’s Six Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin by Aiso and Naoki Ueo will be available at the performances in advance of its release in mid-October.

Aiso will perform at Takasaki Schubert Salon from 7 p.m. on Oct. 5 ([027] 363-1262); Catholic Church Omiya from 3 p.m. on Oct. 6 ([048] 831-3150); Act City Hamamatsu, Ongaku Kobo Hall from 6 p.m. on Oct. 8 ([0570] 06-9960); Tokorozawa Muse, Cube Hall from 7 p.m. on Oct. 10 ([0570] 06-9960); and Tokyo Bunka Kaikan in Ueno, Tokyo from 7 p.m. on Oct. 11 ([03] 5815-5452). See www.kenaiso.net for more information.