Music.Design.Form Festival Szczecin

On September 20th, Maki Namekawa, Tim Fain and Matt Haimovitz played an evening of chamber music by Philip Glass in Szczecin, Poland.
The Filharmonia Szczecin hosts the MDF (Music.Design.Form) Festival 2018. The philharmonic building was opened in 2014 and is shaped like a giant iceberg.
The three musicians each played solo pieces by Philip Glass and finalized the concert with a trio piece. They received standing ovations.

MDF Festival 20/09/2018 Szczecin photo by Wojciech
MDF Festival 20/09/2018 Szczecin
photo by Wojciech Grzedzinski
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wojciech.grzedzinski@gmail.com
wojciechgrzedzinski.com

OUT NOW!

I am so happy that MISHIMA is finally released and I hope you all will be attending my premiere at the Ars Electronica Festival Linz on Monday, September 10th.

300.000 streams on Apple Music

A few days before the official release the pre-released track from “MISHIMA” has already 300.000 on Apple music. We are looking forward to the MISHIMA premiere on September 10th at the Ars Electronica Music Monday.

100.000 streams on Apple Music

August 21, 2018 – Maki released a promo track from her upcoming album MISHIMA on Apple Music.
By today it was streamed more than 100.000 times.

MISHIMA Worldwide CD Release on September 7th

On September 7th, 2018 Maki will release her new album MISHIMA.
MISHIMA is the piano version of the 1985 film score by Philip Glass (his first Hollywood score) to Paul Schrader’s film “MISHIMA – A Life in Four Chapters”.

After the 2014 release of Philip Glass “The Complete Piano Etudes” which charted No. 1 on iTunes Classic, MISHIMA is  a new high point in the collaboration between Namekawa and Glass.

Review – New York Times – Philip Glass, Easy to Mimic but Hard to Match

“ On Saturday, at Roulette in Brooklyn, the pianists Maki Namekawa and Dennis Russell Davies reveled in a program of Mr. Glass’s piano music, about half of which had been adapted from the composer’s operas.

There wasn’t a single dud in this sparkling concert. A suite from “Les Enfants Terribles” showed how much expressive range these two longtime Glass interpreters can bring to his music, with an intoxicating sense of reverie in “Elizabeth Chooses a Career.”
On Ms. Namekawa and Mr. Davies’s 2005 recording of this suite, the more aggressive movements had a metronomic tinge. On Saturday, that studied feeling was gone, replaced by a booming sound that allowed the music to breathe between peaks of intensity. Their approach to the 2008 piece “Four Movements for Two Pianos” also seems to have taken on greater texture over the years.

The program also included a 2013 miniature, “Stokes,” as well as excerpts from two stage works, “The Voyage” and “Orphée.” The latter, like “Les Enfants Terribles,” was inspired by the work of Jean Cocteau. More than Vivaldi, this French poet and filmmaker can reliably spur Mr. Glass’s harmonic imagination, and his agile humor — the attributes that make him both easy to mimic and difficult to match.”

Von Himmel und Erde, von Schubert bis Philip Glass

Liederabend: Martin Achrainer und Maki Namekawa begeisterten das Publikum in der Linzer Ursulinenkirche.

Liederabend: Martin Achrainer und Maki Namekawa begeisterten das Publikum in der Linzer Ursulinenkirche.

Am Sonntag gab Martin Achrainer gemeinsam mit Maki Namekawa einen “Musica sacra”-Liederabend, dessen Texte auf der Grenzlinie zwischen Himmel und Erde, zwischen Diesseits und Jenseits, ja zwischen Bewusstsein und allumfassendem Wissen pendelten.

Geniales Duo bei Musica sacra: Maki Namekawa (Klavier) und Bariton Martin Achrainer. Bild: Werner Kotek

Geniales Duo bei Musica sacra: Maki Namekawa (Klavier) und Bariton Martin Achrainer. Bild: Werner Kotek

Ein perfekt zusammengestelltes Programm, das seinen Ausgang bei Schuberts Wilhelm-Meister-Vertonungen nahm. Goethes Harfner-Texte haben den 19-jährigen Komponisten tief bewegt und sind auch sechs Jahre später bei ihrer Drucklegung Zeugnis eines unglücklichen Lebens, das bereits von Krankheit und Ausgeschlossenheit geprägt ist. Achrainer fand dafür den richtigen trostlosen, betroffen machenden Ton, den er auch für Gustav Mahlers Grenzgängertum in modulierter Form einsetzte. Brutaler wie das “Irdische Leben” kann wohl kaum ein Gedicht sein, und umgekehrt kann die Vorstellung vom “Himmlischen Leben” kaum naiver gezeichnet sein.

Und dennoch finden sich beide Texte in derselben Sammlung – Arnims und Brentanos “Des Knaben Wunderhorn”. Gedichte, die in ihrer derben, doch kunstvoll anregenden Schlichtheit Mahler begeisterten und zu einer Musik anregten, die ebenfalls zwischen den Grenzen des Seins pendelt.
Faszinierender Kosmos

Ergänzt mit “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” aus den Rückert-Liedern, gestalteten Martin Achrainer und Maki Namekawa einen faszinierenden Kosmos des unschuldigen Eintauchens in die Ewigkeit. Dazu passten perfekt – als österreichische Erstaufführung zu erleben – die “Songs of Milarepa”, für die sich Philip Glass von den Texten eines der wichtigsten Heiligen und Dichter des 11./12. Jahrhunderts in Tibet inspirieren ließ. Texte, die aus ganz anderer Sicht die Grenzen zwischen Diesseits und Jenseits als den Weg zur Weisheit zeichnen. Musikalisch hat Glass wie Schubert auf einfachste Mittel zurückgegriffen und den Worten in beeindruckender Diktion den Vortritt gelassen. Für Martin Achrainer ist die Orchesterfassung entstanden, die Maki Namekawa mit farbprächtigem Spiel auf dem Klavier nachzeichnete. Gemeinsam gelang so eine restlos beeindruckende Wiedergabe eines fabelhaft konzipierten Programms. Lautstarker Applaus!

Musica sacra: Liederabend mit Martin Achrainer (Bariton) und Maki Namekawa (Klavier), Ursulinenkirche Linz, 5.11.

Concert – PHILIP GLASS – MUSIC FOR PIANO – Sunday, 22/23 october – Melkweg Amsterdam (Rabozaal)

Philip Glass, der 80-jährige Pionier kehrt zum Melkweg nach Amsterdam zurück.

Am Sonntag, den 22. Oktober, spielt er drei seiner Klavierwerke. Gespielt von Maki Namekawa und Dennis Russell Davies wird “Mad Rush” (1980), “Four Movements For Two Pianos” (2008) und “The Suite from Les Enfants Terribles” (1996). Darüber hinaus präsentiert das Amstel Saxophon Quartett & DJ / Produzent Kypski, anlässlich des 80-jährigen Jubiläums des Komponisten, “Glass On The Roof”. Tickets sind am Mittwoch, den 20. September um 10 Uhr über diesen Link erhältlich.

Montag, 23. Oktober, in diesem Jahr lädt Philip Glass & Friends ua das Alma Quartett, den Cellist Matt Haimowitz und die Pianistin Maki Namekawa als besondere Gäste. Sie werden diesen Abend zweifellos zu einem außergewöhnlichen musikalischem Genuss kommen.

Interview – As if in a Trance: Maki Namekawa and “20 Etudes for 20 Etudes”

An Austrian premiere concludes the Festival on Monday, September 11, 2017. Maki Namekawa will perform all 20 of Philip Glass’ piano etudes accompanied by artist Cori Olan’s real-time visualizations. The duo will also present a daily demonstration of their virtuosity in Deep Space 8K. Maki Namekawa tells us more in this interview.

The setting: The huge Gleishalle [former railcar loading dock] in POSTCITY Linz. A single piano is the centerpiece; jumbo-format projection surfaces provide the backdrop. A pianist takes her place at the keyboard, and the evidence of her artistry slowly fills the post-industrial space. Real-time visualizations of the sounds appear in the background.

On Festival Monday, September 11, 2017, the old Gleishalle will morph into a concert hall, the setting of Maki Namekawa’s Austrian premiere of all 20 piano etudes by composer Philip Glass. The pianist’s work will be accompanied by artist Cori Olan’s real-time visualizations.

The duo’s two-hour performance is certain to enchant their audience in this impressive location. We met with Maki Namekawa to find out more about the music, the special qualities of POSTCITY as a concert venue, and her appearances at the Festival.

Maki Namekawa © Tom Mesic
Maki Namekawa © Tom Mesic

At the 2017 Ars Electronica Festival, you’ll be performing the 20 piano etudes by Philip Glass. Please tell us a little about these pieces.

Maki Namekawa: Philip Glass created his 20 piano etudes over a period of 20 years. Numbers 1-10 were composed about 20 years ago, and 11-20 over the past 10 years. Nevertheless, Philip Glass didn’t compose an etude every year. Actually, he tended to work in blocks. Moreover, the order in which they’re played doesn’t correspond to the dates of their creation. For example, the first six were composed for my husband, Dennis Russell Davies, on the occasion of his 50th birthday.

Finally, I played the 20 piano etudes together with Philip at their premiere in Australia at the Perth International Arts Festival. And we’ve been on tour ever since—in more than 10 countries so far, including Japan, the USA, several European countries and Mexico. After the Ars Electronica Festival in September, we’re flying to Brazil. Philip Glass and I divide up the etudes between us, and we also bring in a local pianist. Occasionally, there are even five pianists, and there were 10 of us once.

At the 2017 Ars Electronica Festival, you’ll be performing the 20 piano etudes by Philip Glass. Please tell us a little about these pieces.

Maki Namekawa: Philip Glass created his 20 piano etudes over a period of 20 years. Numbers 1-10 were composed about 20 years ago, and 11-20 over the past 10 years. Nevertheless, Philip Glass didn’t compose an etude every year. Actually, he tended to work in blocks. Moreover, the order in which they’re played doesn’t correspond to the dates of their creation. For example, the first six were composed for my husband, Dennis Russell Davies, on the occasion of his 50th birthday.

Finally, I played the 20 piano etudes together with Philip at their premiere in Australia at the Perth International Arts Festival. And we’ve been on tour ever since—in more than 10 countries so far, including Japan, the USA, several European countries and Mexico. After the Ars Electronica Festival in September, we’re flying to Brazil. Philip Glass and I divide up the etudes between us, and we also bring in a local pianist. Occasionally, there are even five pianists, and there were 10 of us once.

At the Festival, you alone will be playing all 20 etudes in two one-hour blocks…

Maki Namekawa: Since last year, I’ve also been playing them alone. In 2015, I recorded them all for a CD, and since then I’ve also been playing them without Philipp. But when I play solo, artist Cori Olan accompanies me with visualizations of the music. At the Ars Electronica Festival two years ago, we chose a couple of the etudes and performed them for the first time with real-time visualizations.

What technical challenges do these 20 etudes confront you with?

Maki Namekawa: When Philip Glass composed the etudes, he wrote the first 10 for his own piano technique and, at the same time, to nurture his own composition technique. He knew that he wouldn’t play all 20 alone. Beginning with Number 11, you notice a very wild piano technique. Compositionally, that’s really very innovative. When you listen to etudes 1-10 and then take a short break and come back for the second half, you’re then confronted with a totally different world.

Maki Namekawa © Tom Mesic
Maki Namekawa © Tom Mesic

How is it for you as a pianist to play to real-time visualizations?

Maki Namekawa: Sometimes I used to perform the “Suite from ‘The Hours’” by Philip Glass for a ballet, but I couldn’t really observe the dancing because I was simply too focused on playing. But now I’m very familiar with the pieces, I have a great deal of experience with them, so I also have the capacity to partake of the visualizations.

I really enjoyed it, for example, when we performed the etudes in New York this year. I could directly observe from the visualizations how I’m playing. It’s a little like Jazz—ideas emerge very spontaneously. What I find so wonderful about Cori Olan’s visualizations is that they get my imagination involved while I’m playing. I suddenly become aware of completely novel perspectives that I hadn’t yet discovered playing piano alone. That’s a really lovely experience!

You’ll be performing the 20 etudes in the Gleishalle of this former Postal Service logistics facility in Linz. What’s special about this concert venue?

Maki Namekawa: In Austrian dialect, they would say it’s narrisch [eccentric, to say the least!]. Initially, we thought we’d perform the etudes in Deep Space 8K, which is a highly concentrated and very beautiful setting, but since it’s the Austrian premiere of the 20 etudes, we wanted a somewhat larger venue so a bigger audience can experience it all at once. The Gleishalle is very stark with a lot of concrete and a certain coolness. As a result, the audience is in a more intimate relationship with the projection screen and the piano. An entire orchestra won’t be playing; you hear only the piano. So I think it’s really unique, the way the Gleishalle allows for this triangulation involving the audience, the visualization and a single piano. On one hand, a very large number of people will be able to experience the music together, but, at the same time, each individual can shut out the surroundings and withdraw into a personal space. Especially with Philip’s music—you really go into a sort of trance. This is what we want to bring forth.

It’s a trance for you! But will it be one for the audience too?

Maki Namekawa: Yes [laughs]. As a pianist, I need a foothold, as it were, but for the audience it really can become a deep trance. Which is why the concert is two hours long—so you can really enjoy the music; totally immerse yourself in it. My wish is that the people begin by listening, but after two hours, they’re utterly engrossed in themselves. The music and the visualizations make this possible.

It’s extraordinary that the 20 etudes are all being played together in a single concert.

Maki Namekawa: Yes. And the sequence is organic and natural. When I play the etudes at home, before beginning, I often imagine that I’m at the start of a marathon and I just start running. But the pieces are so organic, so natural and so pleasant, that they really are sort of trance-inducing. For the audience too—you forget everyday life. The sequence of the etudes really has become quite lovely.

During the festival, you’ll also be performing “Interludium A” by Isang Yun in Deep Space 8K. Tell us about this piece.

Maki Namekawa: Isang Yun was a Korean composer. This year would have been his 100th birthday. When he was young, he studied in Japan, even though there was much friction and tension between Japan and Korea. His works are about forgetting these crises and conflicts and simply standing up as a human being. Once, he was even kidnapped due to his political views, and he spent some time in prison. For a long time, it wasn’t clear whether he’d survive or not. During his incarceration, he composed many pieces that were very politically motivated—they’re about Korea’s freedom, and human freedom and depth in general.

“Interludium A” concentrates on the key of A, which is right in the middle of the piano keyboard, right in front of the pianist’s navel. From this starting point, the piece moves successively upwards as if ascending into the heavens, and then downwards into the depths. It’s a simple movement, but the thought behind it is the principle of yin and yang. Inherent in this is Korean-Asian concept or philosophy is the assertion that there is a positive and a negative in everything. Life has its ups and downs; it’s normal to have good times and bad times. This is all a part of life, and that’s what this piece is all about. Cori Olan will be designing the visualizations here as well. His insights into this music are most profound, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing his work.