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Friday, July 6, 2007
Japan's favorite violinist
By MARIKO KATO
Kyoko Takezawa, one of today's foremost violinists, celebrates 20 years since making her concert debut with a series of recitals featuring an all-romantic, modern program. Titled "A Trip Around the World on the Violin," the tour takes in Nagano, Osaka and Tokyo from July 8-13.
A darling of critics and classical music fans alike — and a regular guest with the world's top conductors and orchestras — Takezawa is admired for her wide range of tone and diva-like presence on stage.
Born in 1970, she began playing the violin at the age of three. Like compatriot Mayuko Kamio, who last week was named winner in the violin category in the International Tchaikovsky Competition, Moscow, Takezawa studied under Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School, New York. After completing her studies there, she won the Gold Medal at the prestigious International Violin Competition in Indianapolis in 1986.
She may be renowned for her exuberant performances, yet her flawless technique, founded on her earlier years learning through the Suzuki Method, allows her to control her playing of the most challenging pieces with effortless charm.
The Independent newspaper praised her 2002 BBC Proms performance at the Royal Albert Hall, London, when she played the rarely performed Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1, for "her intonation so precise that even at the stratospheric top of her register, she delivered every note sweet and pure."
Takezawa's recital program offers some of the most popular romantic and early 20th century violin sonatas from several East and North European countries. Germany is represented by Mendelssohn, the Czech Republic by Janacek and Smetana, and Norway by Grieg, while Takezawa polishes off the impressive program with Hungarian composer Bela Bartok's flamboyant Rhapsody No.2.
Kyoko Takezawa performs at Shimosuwa Sogo Bunka Center, Nagano, on July 8 at 6.30 p.m. (4,000 yen, tel.  226-1001); The Phoenix Hall, Osaka, on July 11 at 7 p.m. (5,000 yen, tel.  6341-0547); and at Toppan Hall, Tokyo, on July 13 at 7 p.m. (5,500 yen, tel.  5840-2222).