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.
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.
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