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Charity Duo Recital

Piano and Clarinet for Spring Evening


Pianist Kanae Tsuruga and Clarinet player Kumiko Nowlan held a charity duo recital on April 19 at the Countryside Church in Palatine. On the third anniversary of the great earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku area, the two musicians planned a charity concert and wanted to donate all the profit from the concert to Piano Donation in Japan. It was founded for the purpose of sending pianos to the public schools, facilities, and individual homes that had lost pianos due to the disaster. CEO of the Omron Corporation of America, Nigel Blakeway agreed to support their idea and handed them a check to help their donation.

The evening was a little windy, but the wind seemed likely to induce spring flowers to bloom. The concert started with Tsuruga’s piano solo, Un sospiro (No. 3 from the three concert etudes) by Liszt followed by Etudes Op. 10 No. 3 (Tristesse) by Chopin.
Kumiko Nowlan started playing Sonata for clarinet and piano by Saint-Saens followed by Premiere Rhapsodie for clarinet and piano by Debussy.

After an intermission, the two brought a different mood with Gershwin’s Prelude for piano adapted for clarinet and piano. Then Nowlan played “BIRD” is FREE by Japanese composer Yoshio Kikkawa. The big screens displayed the beautiful nature of Japan side by side.
Tsuruga played Widmung (Dedication) by Schumann, arranged for piano by Liszt. The screens showed memoirs of Schumann.
At the end of the concert, the two musicians played “Hana wa saku (Flowers will bloom). The piece was composed as a charity song for encouraging the people who survived from the great earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. The audience began to sing the song along with the piano and clarinet.

Kanae Tsuruga
She is an accomplished concert pianist, who has given many outstanding international performances. She started learning piano at age of four and graduated from Toho University in Tokyo with a degree in music and received a special achievement award from the school.
Kanae has performed with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, and it was heard on the radio on NHK-FM. In 1988, she was invited to perform solo with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra in China and has played in Brazil, Rome, Cologne, Moscow, and London.
A highlight of her career was an appearance with the Prague String Quartet in Osaka, Japan in 1994. As a result of this success, she was invited twice to Prague to perform Mozart, Dvorak, and Schumann piano quintets.
She has also appeared in concerts with many famous artists such as cellist David Geringas, winner of the Tchaikovsky International contest.
Kanae currently lives in the Chicago area and used to perform annually with a string quartet composed of members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed solo recitals and recently was heard on the WFMT radio classical music program.

Kumiko Nowlan
She completed her B.A. degree at Senzoku Music College in Japan and received awards for her clarinet performance. She performed as a freelance musician in Tokyo and was an instructor for five years.
During her musical career in Japan, she met a number of phenomenal musicians including Seiji Ozawa, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Yutaka Sado, who inspired her to study orchestra in the U.S.
Kumiko received a scholarship from Chicago Music College of Roosevelt University and graduated from the school with a master’s degree in Clarinet Performance in 2000. She was accepted as first associate clarinet at the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and performed until the 2002 season. She has performed on many occasions with local orchestras and music groups.
Since 2011, she has been an instructor at the Midwest Music Conservatory, and her students have many notable achievements. She continues to actively grow her music performance career in the Chicagoland area