One of my favorite classical pieces of music is Piano Concerto no.2 op. 18, composed by Rachmaninoff. When I heard it played by the Japanese pianist, Nobuyuki Tsujii, it had even more beauty.
Who is Nobuyuki Tsujii?
Nobuyuki Tsujii was born blind due to microphthalmia, which is a birth defect in which one or both eyes did not develop fully. From an early age, he exhibited exceptional talent and musical ability. At age two, he began to play Do Re Mi on a toy piano after hearing his mother hum the tune.
He began formal piano study at the age of four. In 1995, at age seven, Tsujii won the first prize at the All Japan Music of Blind Students by the Tokyo Helen Keller Association. In 1998. At age ten, he debuted with the Century Orchestra in Osaka.
He gave his first piano recital in the small hall of Tokyo’s Suntory Hall at age 12. Subsequently, he made his overseas debut with performances in the United States, France, and Russia. In October 2005, he reached the semifinal and received the Critics’ Award at the 15th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition held in Poland…
How does Nobuyuki learn his music and play with an orchestra?
Tsujii learns new musical works strictly by ear. He can use Braille music scores to learn new pieces, but this kind of translation is usually done by volunteers. Because demand is so low, the variety of scores available does not meet the needs of a professional performer, so Tsujii has devised his own method. A team of pianists records scores along with specific codes and instructions written by composers, which Tsujii listens to and practices until he learns and perfects each piece.
Tsujii said in a 2011 interview, “I learn pieces by listening, but it doesn’t mean I’m copying CDs or another person’s interpretation. I ask my assistants to make a special cassette tape for me. They split the piece into small sections, such as several bars, and record it (one hand at a time). I call these tapes ‘music sheets for ears.’ It takes me a few days to complete a short piece, but it takes one month to complete a big sonata or concerto.”… In 2017, a reporter, Monique Schafter, asked Tsujii “How do you stay in time when you can’t see the conductor?”
The pianist replied: ” By listening to the conductor’s breath and also sensing what’s happening around me.” Conductor Bramwell Tovey commented: “He must have very acute hearing, I’m sure.” (Wikipedia)
The courage and determination of this pianist gives the assurance that life is not all seeing...but doing the things that are in the soul and spirit. The will to rise above the difficulties of life and use the talents given is a beautiful gift from God.
Enjoy the amazing music of Nobuyuki Tsujii. (Turn up sound. Move red line back to beginning.)
May 3, 2021 | Categories: Encouragement, Famous People, For the Soul, Inspirational, Making a Difference, Music and Art, MUSIC FOR THE SOUL, Musical Talent, Over-coming Life's Problems, The Talented | Tags: being blind, Braille music, courage, Japan, microphthalmia, Nobuyuki Tsujii, overcoming adversity, piano, Piano Concerto no.2, playing by ear, Rachmaninoff, talent | Comments Off on Life…More Than Seeing