It’s music to children’s ears


Staff Writer

“I got this idea from children,” said Japanese pianist Mayumi Tokugawa when asked about her upcoming performance — a collaborative effort involving poetry and music. “When we have concerts for children and we read out stories, they respond better,” she said, explaining that she has always wanted to perform in a combination of music and words.

Next Tuesday’s piano recital will include works by Frederic Francois Chopin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Claude Debussy. For Debussy’s suite “Children’s Corner,” Japanese poet Shuntaro Tanikawa has written a different poem for each of the work’s six movements.

“By listening to the words of the poetry, I think the audience can free their imagination, and I can be even more inspired” said Tokugawa.

Bringing Tanikawa’s poetry to life will be the voice of naturalist, author, broadcaster and Japan Times columnist C.W. Nicol, who will recite the poems before Tokugawa plays each movement of the suite.

Nicol has been involved in forest restoration for many years and is also helping Higashi Matsushima in Miyagi, which was severely damaged by the March 11 disaster last year, to build schools.

After working with Nicol, Tokugawa decided that she wanted her concert to raise funds for “Mori no Gakkou (school in a forest),” a group Nicol is working with, which is raising funds to buy chairs and desks for schools in Higashi Matsushima.

Debussy dedicated “Children’s Corner” to his first daughter, Claude-Emma, and it only seems apt that it’s now being performed to help the future of children education in Japan.

“Mayumi Tokugawa Piano Recital” will be performed at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan in Ueno, Tokyo, on July 17 starting at 7 p.m. Tickets cost ¥4,000. For more information, visit www.t-onkyo.co.jp or call (03) 5774-3030.