During his six-year stay in Croatia, pianist Tomohiro Adachi was introduced to a remarkable woman named Dora Pejacevic.
Pejacevic was born into a Croatian noble family in 1885 and went on to become Croatia’s first female composer. She died in 1923, but Adachi hopes that her music will live on in Japan. He will introduce her work when he performs at “The World of Dora Pejacevic” in Tokyo on July 31.
The 30-year-old Kyoto-born pianist had “no idea about Croatian music at first,” but then he came across Pejacevic’s “Rose,” which inspired him to further study the history of music in Croatia.
While at the University of Zagreb’s Academy of Music, Adachi studied under Russian pianist Evgeny Zarafiants. Since graduating in 2007, he has been involved in promoting classical pieces by Croatian composers in his homeland. Furthermore, he serves as a representative of the Japan-Croatia Music Society, which formed last year.
The society held its inaugural concert in May, introducing pieces by four Croatian composers. The upcoming show will be an all-Pejacevic program. During her short life, the composer produced a legacy of 58 works that were lost to history until Croatia became independent in 1991. Her music was then re-evaluated and some of her scores are now being published by the Croatian Music Information Center.
“The works from her early days reflect the influence of Romantic composers, such as Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, but she gradually established her own style, with rhythms and melodies influenced by her Croatian origin,” Adachi explains. “Her most important works, which were composed around the time of World War I, feature blended major-minor chord progressions that seem light at first, but which also evoke a sense of nostalgia and emptiness.”
Adachi will be joined by Vienna-based Japanese soprano Yuko Mitani, who will sing 12 songs in German and three in Croatian. Meanwhile, Sydney-based Japanese violinist Masaki (who performs under his first name) will collaborate with Adachi on five pieces.
“Most of the pieces at the upcoming concert will be performed for the first time in Japan,” Adachi says. “It is our responsibility to create a great first impression that will help the audience fall in love with her music.”
“The World of Dora Pejacevic” takes place at Gotanda Bunka Center in Tokyo on July 31 (7 p.m. start; ¥5,000). For more information, call 03-6869-5641.