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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

KOTARO FUKUMA (article first published : 2008-01-30)

An exciting new concert series in the heart of the breathtaking Natal Midlands will be launched on February 17 with a performance by international pianist Kotaro Fukuma at the historic Memorial Hall at Hilton College.

Originally built to honour the memory of ex-Hiltonians who died during military combat, the Memorial Hall was recently converted into a state of the art music concert hall. As a result of this exciting initiative taken by Hilton College Music, the town of Hilton now boasts a world-class music concert facility situated in the spectacular surrounds of Hilton College’s grounds. To enable the public and classical music lovers the opportunity of enjoying the beautiful acoustics of the hall with eminent concert performances, a series of four annual concerts is being launched.

Titled Memorable Concerts, they will feature highly acclaimed international musicians.

After his successful visit to South Africa in 2006, celebrated Japanese pianist Kotaro Fukuma returns for a national concert tour and has the honour of opening this brand new concert series. In 2003, at the age of 20, Fukuma came under the international spotlight after not only winning the first prize in the prestigious Cleveland International Piano Competition, but also the Chopin Prize. As a result he has given nearly 40 concerts in the USA. Since then his career has blossomed and he has performed at some of the world’s most noted piano music festivals and as sought-after soloist, Kotaro has been the guest of numerous respected orchestras. He has also released two CD’s on the NAXOS label.

His programme for the recital will consist of captivating piano works, such as Haydn’s innovative Piano Sonata No 24, Schumann’s riotous string of colourful pieces, Carnaval, as well as contemporary works by the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin and the late Toru Takemitsu, the latter considered to be Japan’s most esteemed contemporary music composer.

Tickets R75 for the first concert in the series on February 17 at 15h00 will include complimentary tea/coffee and cake to be enjoyed in the college’s imposing wood-panelled dining hall during interval. Bookings on 033 383 0126 from February 1.

Memorable Concerts is an initiative of www.classicsa.co.za in association with Hilton College Music.

(In a previous review of Kotaro Fukuma’s performance on artSMart, Michael Green noted that he “… plays with power, confidence and insight, and he has a commanding technique.”)




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