I’ve always been intimidated by requests to set my thoughts in stone in the form of a pithy artist statement. An obligatory requirement for most concert situations, the artist statement is preferably short, concise and ostensibly ‘authoritative’, the opposite of a chat with a colleague over a beer after a concert. The latter conversation is interactive, digressive, imprecise and emotional, filled with subtle acknowledgement of each other’s ideas, not only via language but also through facial expression and gesture; at its best a sharing of wonder over a stating of position.
It is in this spirit of conversation that I hope you are able to spend a few moments reading through the quotations I’ve gathered on this sight (Links page) over the course of the twenty-some-odd years I’ve spent living in Japan. I would hope a few of them resonate with you as much as they they did with me. Could we not all do well to follow Capers “When the picture is not good enough, go closer.” Or how about Feldman’s kick in the pants: “Write a piece that goes against everything you believe.” Calvino’s “It took me a long time to realize that what counts is not your intention but what you actually achieve” was a sobering comfort to me. Who could not be inspired by Maria Montessori’s “At times a trivial incident can open up a new and boundless horizon. By nature man is an explorer, and it is only by the discovery of the seemingly insignificant details that he advances”.
I was fortunate to have the chance to devote a year of study to the Japanese kotsuzumi (Japanese hand drum) under a master of the instrument, Mochizuki Takinojo (http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~takinojo/). This experience helped me fathom the great importance of the master-student relationship in Japanese traditional arts and rekindled my feelings for my previous teachers Dorothy Hare (piano), and John Mackay, Michael Longton, Rudolf Komorous, Jo Kondo (composition). Through their teaching the door was opened to all that is wondrous, mysterious and meaningful in music. I must reserve the last thanks in this preamble for the many musicians who have performed my music with great dedication, and more often than not without remuneration, from 1987 to the present. I would not be where I am now without you.