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Monday, 04 April 2011 (3013700)
Pianist plays to aid Japan victims
by David Simister

A JAPANESE concert pianist's performance in Parbold was made all the more poignant by the fact that funds raised there were going to help those hit by crisis in her home country.

Noriko Ogawa played pieces from Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin to a packed audience at the village hall last Saturday (April 2) in the latest of the Douglas Music series of concerts, but this was a show had an added emotional edge, because the organisers had agreed to pass on all the funds raised to the British Red Cross efforts in Japan, which was hit last month by the triple disaster of an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

The performance was the second the Tokyo musican had played in the UK in the space of a week to raise funds for the Japan relief effort - she had flown in from the country specifically to play the fundraising concerts - and you got the sense that she really gave it her all for the show, with each of the pieces being note-perfect and delicately played throughout.

Although her treatment of Mozart and Beethoven was exemplary, the clear highlight of the show was a piece by the Japanse composer Kanno, which she played not only with piano but also with the delicately crafted (and hugely expensive) Myochin Hibashi chopsticks, which are made from the same metal used to create Japanse samurai swords! Offering a haunting accompanient to an emotively-charged piece, it proved the perfect musical expression of the pain, frustration and hope being experienced by the Japanese people in the wake of the disaster.

Clearly the concert struck a chord with the Parbold audience, who raised a total of £1,500 to help the relief effort in Japan.

To hear an interview with Noriko Ogawa, plus extracts from last Saturday's performance in Parbold, head to our website at and listen to Champ reporter David Simister's interview by visiting the Podcasts section.


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