2013 North America Tour - Winnipeg

Continued from 2013 North America Tour; continued on 2013 North America Tour - 2

"Meet the next great pianist" - Winnipeg Free Press, Jan. 18
“Move over Horowitz!” - Audience as Critics, Winnipeg Virtuosi Series

In the winter of 2013, Nobuyuki Tsujii performed for the first time in Winnipeg, Canada.
Nobu arrived in Winnipeg during extremely cold winter weather.  The temperature ranged from -20°C to -30°C during the days when he was in town.
January 16, 2013 Winnipeg, Manitoba, image via Internet link

His schedule:
Jan 17  Thursday 7PM  NOBUYUKI TSUJII – 2009 Van Cliburn Competition documentary screening
Jan.18-19  Prokofiev No. 3 with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) and conductor Alexander Mickelthwate
Manitoba Centennial Hall - image via Internet link

Jan 20 3PM  Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall University of Winnipeg
"Nobuyuki Tsujii in Recital"http://www.wso.ca/this-season-tickets/2012-2013-season/virtuosi-series/

The recital hall, image via Internet link

Following is a collection of comments and photos about these performances

A video of Nobu being interviewed on Winnipeg TV

A rave review  appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press shortly after the January 18 concert (also recorded  on this site at Winnipeg Free Press January 18 review, for preservation)
Meet the next great pianist, Nobuyuki Tsujii
Winnipeg Free Press, Canada http://vipnews.org.uk/WVLGna
On Friday night, the audience at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra's Masterworks concert witnessed an amazing up-and-coming artist. From the moment Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii walked on stage, we knew we were witnessing someone about who we will come to say, "I heard him when..." ...
image via Internet link

On February 21, 2013, I found this page http://www.virtuosi.mb.ca/02/harrys-high-notes-sonia-chan-nobu-more/ - Harry's High Notes, by Harry Strub, director of the Winnipeg Virtuosi Series, which mentioned many high praises from the audience who attended Nobu's January 20 recital. The text of the article is copied below for preservation.

Audience as Critic: Nobu Fever hits Winnipeg! 

Nobuyuki Tsujii; The Van Cliburn Gold, Sunday, January 20, 2013

Our thanks to our Virtuosi Concerts patrons who virtually exhausted the lexicon of praise for Nobu’s performance as “…amazing, incredible, breathtaking, soul-stirring, phenomenal, astounding and glorious”.  “Move over Horowitz!” marvelled David Wiseman.  The experience of Yoshi Masaki was that “Nobu’s concert was greater than words”.

“This was the most stunning musical event in a long time” ~ M. Dammerman.

“The most amazing live music performance I’ve ever attended” ~ Andrea Paci

“Nobu’s musicianship transcended his blindness” ~ Elaine Segstro

“His playing was sublime” ~ Anna Doorenbos

“We were transported beyond ice and snow; his Clair de lune had more finesse than the best French wine” ~ Virginia Heinrichs

“Nobu plays as if he’s an extension of the piano” ~ Doris Bass

The Virtuosi’s Critic Prize is awarded to Shirley Kitchen: “A heroic transcending performance.  I wept at the beauty of it.”

And, clicking on the "Audience as Critics" button on that page, two long comments can be found:

2013-01-20: Nobuyuki Tsujii

Audience as Critic

DEBUSSY: Deux Arabesques, Suite bergamasque, Estampes, L’Isle joyeuse.
CHOPIN: Grande Valse brillante in E flat major, Op.18 Scherzo No.2 in B-flat minor, Op.3 Polonaise-Fantasie in A flat major, Op. 61,Polonaise No. 6 in A flat major, Op.53 “Heroique”

Virginia Heinrichs
Amazing. Wonderful clarity for Debussy, which is often lacking; Breathtaking shimmery tones in Clair de lune — more finesse than the best French wine. All the colours in the music. Nobu does not need his eyesight to facilitate this! The Valse brilliante was truly brilliant — no it was dazzling, not only in technique, but in passion and colour. Chopin again had the requisite refined detail as well as the Polish fire. Nobu has the ability to caress the keys or to project fire and brilliance. There were many breathtaking moments and subtleties. Simply amazing. We were transported beyond ice and snow.
Edgar Schreiber
Extraordinary person, Nobuyuki Tsujii. Kudos to Virtuosi Concerts for presenting this highly gifted piano virtuoso. Thank you so much for this wonderful afternoon.

February 25 I wrote to the Winnipeg Virtuosi concerts to thank them  and was pleasantly surprised to hear back from them:
Thank you for letting us know about this wonderful fan page, and for taking the time to re-post the feedback Nobuyuki received from the audience at Virtuosi Concerts.  The performance left quite an impression.  Our theatre has never been so well attended! 
Great to hear that they enjoyed their visit to Winnipeg, despite the cold temperatures. We were both pleased and honoured to host Nobuyuki and Nick, his Manager, as they traveled throughout North America - and hope to cross paths again.
It is fitting that Nobuyuki has such a loyal following.
I will pass this onto Harry Strub.  Thank you again,

♪  Mar 2, 2015
There is a nice blog post that came up today from Montreal Canada, "The Stupendous Nobuyuki Tsujii!"
I worked up an English translation, which you are welcome to read here: The Stupendous Nobuyuki Tsujii returns to Canada!:
The post includes a re-print of a great review of Nobu's 2013 debut performance in Winnipeg -- a review that I didn't catch at the time.

Nobu returns to Canada this May,
January 19  Our dear Nobu posted a recital report, with 4 excellent photos.
2,300席余りの大きなCentennial Concert Hallで、
プロコフィエフのピアノ協奏曲第3番を演奏しました。 外は寒かったけれどもお客様からは熱烈な喝采を頂きました。
January 18, 2001 (Canada)
First concert this year,
In the Centennial Concert Hall 2,300 seats too large,
With conductor Alexander Mickelthwate and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
I played Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3.
It was cold outside, but we received a huge warm ovation from the audience.
image via Internet link

And again for the performance on the next day
Yesterday repeated Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
We received a huge ovation from customers.
image with Nobu's recital report, shown here via Internet link

Jan 21
Nobu posted a report about his recital yesterday.
外は氷点下25℃ですが、ご心配頂くほど寒くは感じません。 そして、ウィニペグの人たちはとても暖かく親切です。
January 20, 2013 (Canada)
In Canada, the first recital of the year, in Ekkuharudo Guramate Hall of the University of Winnipeg.
It was  25 ℃ below zero outside, but I did not feel as cold as some people worried. And the people of Winnipeg are very warm and friendly.
Since the tickets were sold out in a small hall, a number of auxiliary seats were placed around the piano.
Audience during the performance of the concert was very quiet; and the cheers and applause were passionate after my playing.
For encores, I played  Chopin's Nocturne No. 8 and "Still, we are living".
image via Internet link

http://www.virtuosi.mb.ca/01/the-van-cliburn-gold/ high notes from Harry
This new star of the concert stage was a winner of the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition. He is so unique, he deserves the widest exposure – performing a concerto with the WSO (Jan. 18–19) and a Virtuosi recital the following afternoon. That “Nobu” is also completely blind from birth is forgotten as soon as his fingers touch the keyboard. Amazingly, he learns all the music by ear. You must be here to understand why Van Cliburn himself said, “Nobu’s performance had the power of a healing service; you feel God’s presence in the room.”

On January 17,  Nobuyuki Tsujii will appear IN PERSON before and after a public screening of the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition documentary
January 11, 2013
Nobuyuki Tsujii: FREE screening and in Recital
WSO Virtuosi Event
January 17, 7:30 PM
Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, University of Winnipeg
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Virtuosi Concerts Inc, along with
the Arts and Disability Network Manitoba, is proud to present a FREE screening
of the 90 minute PBS documentary.
Nobu will appear with music director Alexander Mickelthwate before the screening to talk about preparing for the upcoming concerts with the WSO. A reception will follow hosted by the Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre in the area outside the Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall. Limited seating available.
Virtuosi Concert
Nobuyuki Tsujii in Recital
Sunday, January 20, 3:00 PM
Experience Nobuyuki's exquisite technique in an intimate afternoon recital of Debussy and Chopin. You must be here to understand why Van Cliburn himself said, "Nobu's performance had the power of a healing service; you feel God's presence in the room."
TICKETS: Adult $33.00; Student $15.00; High School Student $5.00.
 Call 204.786.9000 or WSO Box Office at 204.949.3999.

An interesting letter to the editors of the Winnipeg Free press: Nobu reveals essence of disability and art.

Feb 8
An article surfaced about an interesting letter to the editors of the Winnipeg Free press: Nobu reveals essence of disability and art, with a small photo.  The article is copied below for preservation:

Nobu reveals essence of disability and art
By Harry Paine on February 8, 2013
Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Charitable Organizations, Culture, Reviews

This letter to the Editor of the Winnipeg Free Press was published but only the first three paragraphs made it into print. Left out were key points that disability in an artist may not only add to the quality of the work but is often the muse that gives it life.

L to R: Susan Lamberd – Chair ADNM, artist Nobuyuki Tsujii and Marie Bouchard of The Winnipeg Foundation

Editor, Winnipeg Free Press

I didn’t get around to reading Gwenda Nemerofsky’s review of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s Masterworks concert in Saturday January 26th Winnipeg Free Press until Sunday afternoon and I am happy about that as I was able to relive the glory of the concert that I attended on Saturday evening.

Gwenda’s descriptive prose of the performance was beyond journalism and into art, especially that part of her review that witnessed the young master of the piano Nobuyuki Tsujii. I saw through her words his hands moving at such lightning speed that I was left breathless for a second time.

However, there is a point of clarification that I think needs to be made and that is in regard to the paragraph “He was led on to the stage by conductor Alexander Mickelthwate because he has been blind since he was born, but that was the extent that his disability affected his performance and ability to captivate an audience.”

I and a number of other of the supporters of the Arts and Disability Network Manitoba (ADMN) collaborated with Virtuosi Concerts and the WSO and were at the concert representing local artists with disabilities whose works were on display in the foyer. Like Nobu these artists have had to overcome some social and physical limiting factors in their lives to achieve goals; our purpose as a network is to support artists with disabilities through providing resources, education and opportunities.

It is our opinion artists such as Nobu and many others are not ‘affected’ by their disability but in most cases are ‘effected’ by the limitation they may have. We would suggest that to a large measure Nobu’s genius at the keyboard may have come from the fact that being blind he had to rely on his acute sense of sound rather than be distracted by sight, motion and lighting. Micklethwate in his pre-concert dialogue discussed the special relationship that he and the soloist had to develop because there was no visual communication.

The relative numbers of persons with disabilities in society is changing somewhat dramatically as medical science is allowing us to live longer and make greater on-going contributions to the economy and to the arts world. Artists such as Christine Sun Kim who is totally deaf but uses sound to create art and who will be in Winnipeg at the ADNM Fair in October, disability advocate Geoff McMurchy confined to a wheelchair expresses his artistic abilities through dance routines and at last year’s ADNM Winnipeg City Councillor Ross Eadie spoke eloquently about how he as a blind person could appreciate visual art.

Cultural and artistic expression is in a constant state of change as it should be and great art doesn’t need to transcend disability, it is embraced, informed and enriched by it.

I posted this comment:

Hi, from California!
I am one of the biggest fans around of Mr. Nobuyuki Tsujii, and I am very happy that he seems to have made quite an impression in Winnipeg.

I read this letter of Mr. Harry Paine with great interest. Its topic is one that has been on my mind ever since I became entranced by Nobu. I was not even aware that Nobu was blind when I was first captivated by his performances at the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition. Since then, I have followed his career with great interest, and his music and his remarkable accomplishments have rewarded me richly.

I think Nobu and his mother (Mrs. Istuko Tsujii) would agree with Mr. Paine’s thesis, which is that disability can be embraced for artistic and cultural achievements such as that attained by Nobu. In Japan, Mrs. Tsujii gives lectures to parents. In her talks, she does not speak about how to overcome the handicap of one’s child, but instead how to “stretch” his talents.

Nobu was brought up without thinking that he is handicapped. His mother took little Nobu to all kinds of experiences, including visits to museums, attending kabuki, and “seeing” fireworks. As a result, Nobu never considers himself handicapped. Doing what’s natural to him, Nobu has made the utmost of the senses that he does possess.

People all over the world are now astonished by Nobu’s music and his story. Even so, the inescapable label of “blind” or “handicapped” is affecting Nobu adversely in an insidious way. Soon after Nobu was awarded a gold medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, there was an outcry that sympathy for his handicap was a factor in the jury’s decision. This preconception may have affected some music critics who are less objective than Ms. Gwenda Nemerofsky of the Winnipeg Free Press, and some of these critics have written about Nobu’s music less admiringly. There are also people — such as one Winnipeg blogger — who opined that Nobu gets his standing ovations only because he is blind.

I wish those critics would carefully read this letter of Mr. Paine, especially the last sentence: “great art doesn’t need to transcend disability, it is embraced, informed and enriched by it.”

Jan 15:
Winnipeg Symphony @WpgSymphony tweet: WSO fact: 1973 WSO begins An Evening in Old Vienna. This wknd feat Ligeti/Dvořák/pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, blind since birth, plays Prokofiev

NobuTsujiiFans tweet: Envy!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r_mOJmdQX0  RT @WpgSymphony This weekend features Ligeti/Dvořák/pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii plays Prokofiev"

NobuTsujiiFans tweet: Nobuyuki Tsujii performs Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 at London Festival Hall, May 26, 2012 Review. http://www.seenandheard-international.com/2012/05/26/ashkenazy-conducts-russian-music/  @WpgSymphony

Posted  Jan 15, 12:33 PM  on "Giants in the Playground forum" by a Canadian http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=14535887 I have secured a ticket for Nobuyuki Tsujii on Sunday -- I'm seated on stage right beside the piano. I got into the office just in time to buy the absolute last seat.

Jan 17
IMG Artists New York ‏@IMGArtistsNY tweeted: Winnipeg, MB: Van Cliburn Gold Winner #Nobuyuki Tsujii performs with Virtousi Chamber Music series. Check him out on 1/20! cc:@NobuTsujiiFan

Tweeted by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra: WSO/Virtuosi Concerts/ADNM.ca presents free screening of PBS film "A Surprise in Texas" 2day 7pm Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall UofW pretalk w/Nobu

Posted today on the facebook page of Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra https://www.facebook.com/WinnipegSymphony?ref=ts&fref=ts
Blind since birth, Nobuyuki Tsujii, who performs this Friday and Saturday with the WSO, shared First Prize at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, was featured in the acclaimed PBS film "A Surprise in Texas" and debuted in November 2011 at Carnegie Hall.
The WSO and Virtuosi Concerts Inc, along with the Arts and Disability Network Manitoba (www.ADNM.ca) is proud to present a free screening of the 90 minute PBS documentary today, Thursday, January 17th at 7:00 pm at Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall at the University of Winnipeg.
Nobu will appear with music director Alexander Mickelthwate before the screening to talk about preparing for the upcoming concerts with the WSO. A reception will follow hosted by the Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre in the area outside the Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall. Limited seating available.

そういえば1月にウィニペグに辻井伸行さんが来るんだった。チケット取るのすっかり忘れてた。見に行きたかった。 In January to Winnipeg Mr. Nobuyuki Tsujii comes - now that you mention it.  I had completely forgotten to take the ticket. I want to go see.  -tweet

January 18
Winnipeg Symphony ‏@WpgSymphony tweeted:
Today's WFP <Winnipeg Free Press> Gwenda Nemerofsky's story: Award-winning blind pianist with, WSO Nobuyuki Tsujii performs Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.3 Fri&Sat  <The article is not currently online - I will keep an eye on this page http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/columnists/33844999.html>

今週末、辻井伸行さんがウィニペグに来てるとな。This weekend, Mr. Tsujii is coming to Winnipeg  -tweet

January 20
A Winnipeg tweeter wrote: Great performances by the @WpgSymphony Friday night especially Nobuyuki Tsujii with his Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.3 #standingovation

今 から辻井伸行さんのコンサートです。会場満員!辻井さんはやはり世界的に有名なんですね(^ ^)楽しみ!From now Mr. Nobuyuki Tsujii 's concert. Packed venue! Mr. Tsujii is world famous.  Fun (^ ^)!  -tweet  by Winnipeg twitter

辻 井さんのピアノ、感動しすぎてめっちゃ泣いてもた。スタンディングオベーションで拍手も鳴りやまなかったよ! The piano of Mr.  Tsujii, I was moved to tears.   The applause would not stop, with a standing ovation!  -tweet

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=14567520 Post #647 on a gamers' board, posted on Jan 21
The concert I saw yesterday was an irreplaceable jewel of experience for my treasure box. I was seated on stage across from the performer at the back of the piano, situated perfectly to see his face and the movement of the hammers. He gave four pieces by Debussy, four by Chopin, and one of his own.
To see the shameless rapture on his face and hear his frenzied sibilant breathing as he thundered forth flawless music with such a range of power and tenderness was sublime. I also got to shake his hand and say hello afterwards; he was sweet and soft-spoken with a small, cool, smooth hand like a petal.
Here is his playing from several years ago, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vKgawvTbnU,  the wonderful Nobuyuki Tsujii, who was born blind and learns to play by ear alone.
I think my favourite thing he did was to stay leaned forwards over the keys after finishing a piece, letting the silence linger for several moments before standing to bow. One thing I hate at performances is when people rush to applaud the SECOND the last note is played, leaving no time to fully digest its finality

Jan 22
Someone in Winnipeg tweeted: I met the most extraordinary pianist at WSO! Nobuyuki Tsujii is amazing, and he has been blind since birth! He will be on Backstage!  <I tweeted back to ask what "Backstage" is - perhaps a Canadian TV show>

The facebook page of the Van Cliburn Foundation today mentions the glowing review that appeared on the Winnipeg Free Press last week, and the upcoming performances of Nobuyuki Tsujii in Fort Worth next week.

Jan 23
A U.K. tweeter wrote: Meet the next great pianist, Nobuyuki Tsujii - Winnipeg Free Press, Canada http://vipnews.org.uk/WVLGna

Finally, from Winnipeg came a dissenting voice. This is a mean-spirited article and not to be taken seriously http://tingram.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/the-weekends-entertainments/