[HOT TRACK]This Pianist Aims to SootheYuhki Kuramoto, the 50-year-old Japanese musician, disdains some of the showmanship of his contemporaries. Instead of displaying his talent by producing distracting, gaudy sounds, he performs in an abstemious manner.
Last Saturday, Kuramoto released his sixth album in Korea, titled "Sceneries in Love." It carries 14 tracks that were composed for Japanese TV dramas.
Though Japanese culture is still sensitive to Koreans, they find this pianist quite acceptable to their ears; his five previous albums sold over 750,000 copies in Korea.
Tickets for his recitals in Korea were also sold out.
Often compared in style to George Winston, Kuramoto has won both popularity and critical acclaim through his distinctly minimalistic approach. He tends to use basic chords, which are prone to create a rather flat sound. But the power of his music lies in the fact that his pianissimo comes across as comforting and friendly rather than monotonous and unvaried.
While Rachmaninov's compositions were prodigious but inapproachable, Yuhki Kuramoto presents music that seems unexceptional but is quite refined. Because of the pacifying nature of his music, it was used as in-flight music on Japanese airlines.
To the surprise of his admirers, Kuramoto's previous specialty was applied physics. He taught himself how to play the piano and decided to pursue a professional career in music after he got his master's degree.
In 1986, when he was 35, he released his debut album, titled "Lake Misty Blue," in Japan, and it became a huge success. Some critics say that his music is based on amateurism, but they use the term to express their enthusiasm for his style.
In the new release, the song "Warm Affection" presents the quintessence of Yuhki Kuramoto. Its sound is gently undulating and serenely leads its listeners to tranquillity.
As for the title of the album, Yuhki Kuramoto says, "The true 'Sceneries in Love' come when people live in harmony, being considerate to each other and sharing precious moments together."
Mr. Kuramoto is scheduled to give two recitals in Seoul during May.
The first will take place on May 19 at Seoul Arts Center, the second on May 21 at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts.
For concert information, call 02-598-8277 (Korean service only).
"The true 'Sceneries in Love' come when people are considerate of each other," says Yuhki Kuramoto.
by Chun Su-jin