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May 22, 2009 23handvboxshadowuplozenge6lozenge4bookhandptleftsquare6lozenge6scorpioboxshadowuplozenge6cancerpiscessquare6circleshadowdwnscorpiosquare6lozenge6
Musician/scholar offers fresh take on an ancient instrument
BY GLORIA TIERNEY program at American Music Open Piano Competition in
Special to ASIA
While there she also lectured on the harpsichord. “Their
Harpsichordist Takae Ohinishi is in overdrive to create
response to the harpsichord was strong, even though they had
as much music as possible before a very blessed event in
never known, heard or touched this instrument,” she said.
July – the birth of her first child. “After the baby I won’t be
“There are so many young people in China learning piano
so free,” she said. Becoming a mother will not slow her
very seriously, but there are not enough resources to learn
down, nor quell her passion for the harpsichord and her
about its historical background,” she said.
zeal to bring it into the mainstream of 21st century music.
Because of China’s post-WWII political isolation, Chinese
Over the next few months, she will perform at a few
musicians missed the harpsichord revival that swept modern
chamber concerts and record harpsichord works by UCSD
music in the late 20th century and the students were eager to
graduate composers. She hopes to include some of the stu-
make for lost time.
dents work on a new CD she plans to release in a few
Ohnishi’s first concert for the Spring Festival is scheduled
years. Right now she is the middle of commissioning and
for May 9 at 8 p.m. and will feature works by Rand Steiger,
selecting works for the album.
Roger Reynolds, Lei Liang and Fredrick Chopin. The follow-
It will be her first solo album since she released “A
ing Saturday, May
Harpsichord Recital” in 2002. It was honored as an
17, she will per-
International Special Prized CD by Record Geijyutsu. “I
form at a concert
feel I have learned so much more since then,” Ohinishi
featuring Toru
said. She has also scheduled a series of concerts for May
Takemitsu’s “Rain
that feature both contemporary and baroque music.
While the harpsichord is traditionally been limited to
Ohnishi in front of a harpsichord.
She will also
compositions by Bach and Purcell, in recent years many
perform at an Old
contemporary composers have begun writing for it.
seed that you try to nurture with each performance,” Ohinishi
Masters Concert
Foremost among those composers is Lei Liang, Ohinishi’s
Series on May 17 in
husband, who wrote “Some Empty Thoughts of a Person
This spring she will perform new music by students and
the Hibben Gallery
from Endo” for her.
established composers at UCSD’s Spring Festival, a series of
at the San Diego
It was Liang who introduced her to contemporary music
concerts that will inaugurate the school’s new Conrad Prebys
Museum of Art and
while both were students at the New England Conservatory.
Music Center.
with the La Jolla
He needed a harpsichordist for a chamber piece he had writ-
Although new music has taken center stage in her life
ten and persuaded Ohinishi recorded it. Since then she has
recently, she has abandoned her love for traditional harpsi-
Singers in a per-
performed works by other contemporary composers, includ-
chord music. In January, she performed at San Diego Early
formance of
ing Ton That Tiet, a Vietnamese composer best known writ-
Music Society-sponsored concert at the San Diego Museum
“...there are not enough resources to
Purcell’s Dido and learn about its historical back-
ing the score for “The Scent of Green Papaya.”
of Art and will perform at two concerts featuring Baroque
Aeneas May 29 at
For the past year she has been working with music stu-
music later this month
St David’s Church
dents at UCSD, teaching them how to create 21st century
She also taught master’s classes at the Fukuoka Early
in Bay Park.
music for an ancient instrument. Many contemporary com-
Music Festival, one of Japan’s most important music festi-
For more information on Ohnichi’s upcoming concerts
posers want to write for the harpsichord few really under-
vals. “Every year they invite the top musicians from Europe
visit her website at
stand the instrument Ohnishi believes. “New music is like a
and Asia,” Ohinishi said. She was invited to judge the Bach
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