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26 May 2017, 15:25
‘I’m a piano player and a musician, whether I’m an artist – that’s not up to me to decide’
Mitsuko Uchida speaks ahead of her performance at the Edinburgh International Festival
The legendary pianist Mitsuko Uchida is performing at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival and she’s spoken to the festival about her earliest, most transformative musical memory.
Mitsuko Uchida is one of the greatest pianists in the world but also, it seems, one of the most modest.
In an interview for the Edinburgh International Festival – where she’ll be performing on 21 August – she speaks about striving to do her best as a musician:
“For the music I live, and that’s that. I’m a pianist – and I want to be a good musician – but the only thing I can do more or less decently is to play the piano. So I am a piano player and a musician. If I am an artist, that’s not up to me to decide.”
She also spoke about one of her earliest musical memories, of seeing Verdi’s opera Aida for the first time: “The Italian opera which came to Japan for the first time sometime in the very late 50s. The Triumphal March of Aida was so fantastic, I couldn’t believe that this was music because I was plinky-plonking every week in my lesson.”
She went on to say: “Even in Vienna, everybody was so bloody serious about [music], but listening to that opera was pure pleasure and the music should be that. You should just have the pure pleasure and joy and be open to it.”