Sunday, March 9, 2014



What does the popular screen giant and the Kalamazoo Symphony have in common??

Reiko Yamada, the KSO's Principal Keyboard!

Reiko Yamada brought the music of Japanese composer 
Akira Ifukube to the Miller Auditorium stage in 2008 for 
an electrifying performance of Ifukube's "Ritmica Ostinata"
for solo piano and orchestra.  It was Reiko's "star turn" 
to perform as a soloist with the Kalamazoo Symphony.

That performance launched a new phase in the Chicago-
based pianist's career, spawning CD sessions in Japan, 
and concerts in both Japan and the USA.  All this, plus 
Reiko's KSO commitments, and her performing and 
teaching schedule in Chicago make her a "Godzilla Gal" 
of sorts, possessor of super-human stamina!

                                                     -image courtesy of Google Images

Akira Ifukube (pronounced 'foo-koo-bee) considered to be the dean of Japanese
composers, is best known for his movie score for the 1954 cult classic, GODZILLA.
Ifukube was more than a "one hit wonder", however...

                                                              -image courtesy of Google Images

Akira Ifukube (1914-2006) was a prolific composer throughout his long life.
Born almost a generation before Toru Takemitsu, Ifukube introduced Japanese 
music to the world, but with a twist.  Traditional Japanese music, fired in his
imagination, was scored for Western European instruments (piano, violin) and
traditional European groups, such as symphony orchestras.  To this writer's ear,
Ifukube's "Ritmica Ostinata" is Stravinsky-esque in its driving rhythmic figures.
The influence of the French impressionists is heard in quieter passages.

Reiko Yamada became the new Kalamazoo Symphony Principal Keyboard
after Alice retired.  A fond friendship was forged.  Whenever Reiko was in town
for rehearsals and concerts, it was cause for celebration!  Going backstage after a
concert was a must, and brunch dates downtown or dinner parties at Alice's were
a regular occurrence.

                                              Alice & Reiko having brunch, 2004

NOW PUBLISHED!  A longer article on Reiko's amazing life story is on the main blog,
Alice's Archives:  50 Years of Kalamazoo Symphony Memorabilia.

Read about her upcoming performance with the Tokyo Symphony in Ifukube's "Ritmica
Ostinata for Piano and Orchestra", on May 31, 2014.

Alice's Archives:  50 Years of Kalamazoo Symphony Memorabilia
(click on the title tab in the header bar)

REIKO YAMADA:  Samurai Pianist


In the meantime, click on the YouTube link below to enjoy a "Godzilla Medley", 
performed at an orchestral concert in Japan (complete with cutaways to GODZILLA 
film clips).

This YouTube link was posted courtesy of "Habanerotube".  Arigato!  (Thank you!)

                                   Akira Ifukube - Godzilla Medley - YouTube         


                                                   -movie poster for the original 1954 GODZILLA


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