The low-profile, wide-ranging Mitsuko Uchida

Posted on: October 19, 2011

In Saturday’s (10/15) Financial Times, Andrew Clark profiles pianist Mitsuko Uchida. “On Monday she participated in the hottest ticket of the London autumn concert calendar—as soloist in the Schumann Piano Concerto with Claudio Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. Next month she will take the last three Schubert piano sonatas to Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. But in 30 years at the top of her profession, Uchida has never behaved like a star. Offstage, she prefers anonymity and spends time quietly mentoring young artists through the Borletti-Buitoni Trust.” Uchida explains how, despite her Japanese heritage and musical growth in German-speaking Europe, “the people I loved and who influenced me more than my teachers came through my third language, which is English. … In Vienna, everyone thinks they know how Mozart goes. ‘It has to be like this.’ That’s dangerous, because you can’t know it when you are dealing with someone else’s creation. It was the same with Debussy in Paris, so I avoided France. I needed to figure out what was true to my way of listening to music. The no man’s land of England suited me. It is a meeting point of lots of cultures, with no dominant ideology.”

Posted October 19, 2011