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JAPAN

‘Driftwood’ duet to be the first of its kind

by Chiho Iuchi

Staff Writer

The first duets on two “driftwood” violins are being performed in Japan by leading Mexican violinist Adrian Justus and his teacher, Yuriko Kuronuma, a Mexico-based Japanese violinist.

When the two artists visited master luthier Muneyuki Nakazawa’s workshop in Tokyo in December 2011 to have Justus’ violin repaired, Nakazawa had just begun making violins from driftwood recovered from the tsunami-ravaged city of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture.

Nakazawa’s idea inspired Kuronuma to participate in the Bond Made of a Thousand Tones project, in which the driftwood instrument is being played by violinists from around the world. Upon the completion of Nakazawa’s second driftwood violin, Kuronuma decided to perform with her pupil the first duet using two such violins. Justus first performed here in 1985 at age 14 as part of the first Japan tour of Kuronuma’s private music school in Mexico City. It was his sympathy for Japan that moved him to act now, according to Kuronuma.

“Naturally, it is different from my own instrument, but the driftwood violin sounds well and has a humane tone,” says Justus, who has won over many fans in Japan.

The program includes Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich’s three duets for two violins and piano.

“When we perform with these special violins, strangely enough, Shostakovich’s first minor part sounds like a soul-stirring requiem, which I have never thought of the piece as before,” Kuronuma says.

Following the recital in Tokyo and several outreach performances at elementary schools in Tokyo and Chiba prefectures, the Japan tour ends in Nagoya on Jan. 21.

Adrian Justus’ violin recital takes place at Munetsugu Hall in Nagoya on Jan. 21 at 6:45 p.m. Tickets cost ¥4,000. For more information, call (052) 265-1718 or visit www.munetsuguhall.com