Message from Megumi Fujita
after losing my beloved teacher and mentor Irina Zaritskaya in
2001, I have felt so lost and all of my self confidence has vanished.
After 17 long years, I have regained my self confidence back again
Join me as I embark to share my discovery, and I hope it will
be useful to all who loves, and to all who plays the piano.
The thought process
in essence is to 'recreate what I envisaged Chopin imagined for
his 24 etudes', and to physically express it on the keyboard.
I have recorded the etudes in Sweden, and have released the CD
in May 2017.
With the complete performance
of the etudes, and the following masterclass, I hope to deepen
your understanding of the greatness and the ingenuity of the etudes,
and share the secret of playing the Chopin etudes for all piano
Chopin Etudes for
Everyone Masterclass@Tokyo Vol.2
2020 16th January (Thu) 18:00
Kawai Omotesando, Concert Salon 'Pause'
A review just out from
Musical Opinion (Jan-March 2020 issue) of Megumi's
Chopin 24 Etudes at St John’s Smith Square on October 27th 2019!
14th Dec 2019
has just come out on Japanese leading music magazine 'Ongaku Gendai'
January 2020 (translated from original Japanese)
Fujita Recital in London
Since the controversial Brexit referendum, won by a tiny
margin, the remainers are still going strong and the future
of the UK has been hanging in a balance for three years.
The leavers and the remainers continues their battle right outside
the Houses of Parliament. Once you turn a corner in front of
the Houses of Parliament, the hustle and bustle suddenly becomes
silent, and the mighty white St John’s Smith Square appears.
This is the venue for Megumi Fujita’s recital.
The church was built around 300 years ago in a Baroque style,
but was completely destroyed in the Second World War. It was
rebuilt 30 years ago while keeping the original exterior, and
was reborn as one of the main London concert halls. With its
notable acoustics, the hall is also used for BBC music programmes.
Megumi Fujita gave a Complete Chopin Etudes recital here on
She sat at the piano with a quiet smile and strong inner determination,
and commenced the first Etude in C major like a roaring great
cascading waterfall. It drew us in one continuous streak, without
an interval, right through to the last Etude ‘Ocean’ of scrolling
continuous arpeggio with both hands, she expressed Chopin’s
multitude of characters by being sweet, sometimes severe, and
refreshing at times, she treated us to ‘Megumi’s World’ incorporated
with her adoration to Chopin.
Tasmin Little, the famous British violinist and Megumi’s former
school friend from the Menuhin school was in the audience, and
was keenly listening to the performance.
Ongaku Gendai Magazine Article
by Tsunenori Nitobe:
“Ongaku Gendai” Magazine
Chopin by Megumi Fujita
Complete 24 Chopin Etude
and ‘Chopin Etudes for everyone’ Masterclass
(at Kawai Sendai,
Concert Salon “Verde” on 21st April, 2019)
was born in New Zealand and spent most of her life in various countries
because her father was a diplomat. She started learning the piano
from her mother at the age of five and entered the piano world. She
studied under Louis Philip Kentner (1905-1987), Vlado Perlemuter (1904-2002)
at the Yehudi Menuhin School in the United Kingdom, and Irina Zaritskaya
(1939-2001) as a post-graduate student at Tel Aviv University in Israel.
And when Zaritskaya
moved to the Royal College of Music in the United Kingdom, Fujita
continued her post-graduate studies at the Royal College of Music
to follow her professor Zaritskaya. Madame Zaritskaya was also a very
famous "Chopinist'' who was known in the piano world. She took
second place after Maurizio Pollini (1942-) in the sixth Chopin competition
in Warsaw in 1960 and was recognized for her exceptional talent. Zaritskaya
went on to continue to higher musical studies at Moscow Conservatory
In other words
Fujita received extensive guidance until Zaritskaya's death. For example
Kentner learnt from Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967) who was a composer,
philosopher, folklorist and linguist. While Perlemuter learned from
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) and from Alfred Cortot (1877-1962 ) and
he was active worldwide. So it can be said that Fujita's piano genealogy
reaches the most important pianists in world music history.
active overseas with her sisters ; Honoka on cello and Arisa on violin
known as the "Fujita sisters". Recently Fujita is a soloist
focusing on concerts and teaching piano in Japan. It is because of
her pure heart that she wants to convey to the Japanese piano performers
her musical arts and heritage from her professors.
recent CD from Intim Musik Sweden is all Chopin études. This is an
album that reproduces the sound of Chopin inherited from Madame Zaritskaya.
I was deeply impressed when I listened to her live performance, Fujita
was particular about Chopin's ideal fingering techniques, and in her
performance I could hear the trained independence of ten fingers.
She plays Chopin's etudes as a work of art in which Chopin incorporate
artistic creativity, skill and music.
10-6 in E flat minor in the style of nocturnal combines the precise
touch and volume of the left -hand part further enhancing the artistry
of this etude. "The ascending arpeggio" in No.11 in E flat
major is undisturbed, and even when playing the left and right hands,
her "tempo rubato" would even enchant Clara Schumann, who
had criticized Chopin's performance. Op. 25-10 "the octave jumping''
in B minor was very refreshing with careful consideration not to make
any unwanted noise with the pedal Etude No. 11 "Etude of the
tree wilt' ' and No. 12 are exactly "pictures of sound ".
The wind that blows the leaves off the trees and the scene of people
raising their collars and pining for their warm homes. The final Etude,
Op. 25-12 "Ocean Etude" increases the heart at of the listener
in the parallel arpeggio of both hands.
her whole concert Fujita's awareness is that the sound is not muddy
at all by the control of the damper pedal like that which Pollini
inherited from legendary pianist Michelangeli. In a similar environment
to Argerich whose father was a diplomat, Fujita's performance level
of Chopin was outstanding compared to other pianists.
I want to say that Megumi Fujita will hold an all Chopin Etude concert
at St. John's Smith Square Hall in London on 27th of October this
autumn. It is my hope that many Japanese will go to the United Kingdom
to hear the performance. As was Kawai concert salon "Verde"
fair day on April 21 in Sendai Japan.
2 page spread article on Chopin 24 Etudes Concert & Masterclass
(Dec, 2018) has appeared (with photos!) on March issue of Japanese Ongaku
interview on her upcoming Chopin
Etudes Concert/Masterclasses in Tokyo and Osaka
has been published on leading Japanese music magazines Music
Gendai and Chopin!
From the programme of Megumi Fujita's Chopin
Complete 24 Etudes Recital today at Kawai Omotesando Pause Hall,
journey to Chopin Etudes
for coming to hear my Chopin Etudes tonight.
I was one
of those typical ‘model student’ in my younger years, as I can immediately
play whatever my teachers’ instructed. When I found out the possibility
to study with Irina Zaritzkaya at Tel Aviv University, with great difficulty,
I somehow managed to get my parents - who were more inclined towards
me studying in the US - to let me study in what was a war torn Israel.
I think I was getting a twice weekly lessons then. I noticed my playing
improving magically at an amazing pace. What I could only imagine -
the breathtaking moments, tearful sorrow, deep emerging uncontainable
anger – I was capable to expressing it with my playing. The lessons
for me then, were like a dream from another world.
I was mimicking
everything my teacher said with perfection. Really with amazing detail.
I wrote down everything through to a minute detail into my music. I
participated in many competitions, so I played the same pieces to her
over and over, and wrote in even more detail. Every twice weekly lessons
were spent intensively, so one can imagine how much I have improved.
However, deep within me, I was insecure, and lacked confidence. I was
studiously trying to copy everything my teacher said, but never even
thought about applying the idea in other pieces. I did have a level
of uncertainty, but as long as I can have lessons with my teacher, wherever
she is, I will be set forever.
died suddenly in 2001, when I was in my mid–thirties.
I was abruptly
left alone to learn new pieces from scratch. I was fine performing music
that I was taught, but new pieces are different. I can do what was printed,
but emotions did not synchronise with what I was playing. Even if I
literally prayed while performing passages that needed to sound like
a prayer, the sound never came out as I wished.
was missing from what is definitely a beautiful music.
I had a
lot of concerts scheduled at the time, so I went to my late teacher’s
daughter Alexandra Andrievsky, who was of similar age to me, in London,
and when she moved to Canada, I went to Canada to have lessons. Alexandra
Andrievsky, printed at the end of my biography is my late teacher, Irina
Zaritskaya’s daughter. I had by then, completely given up making music
In one of
the lessons in Canada, I asked ‘how shall I play this phrase?’. Alexandra
went silent for a moment and then told me what to do. Now that I think
back, perhaps she didn’t go silent to think, but were listening out
for a doorbell or a phone, but to me, a person desperate for the answer,
the silence felt like a lightening bolt. ‘Should I think deeper!!?’
At that moment
I decided to to use my head and search for answers.
I stopped going for lessons, and limited listening to other performers
in concerts and CDs to a bare minimum. I have only listened to a handful
of recordings of the pieces I am performing for the past decades.
I have finally
started to think deeper and deeper in my own mind.
the new pieces which I learned by myself lacked something. I read widely,
and went to museums. I tried pouring all my emotions, literally to the
point of crying, but the results were not quite there. But I really
wanted to find the answers by myself.
years a revelation presented itself: Pianistic tone colour varies by
the weight transmitted from the arm to the keyboard. Simple, but this
was the most important discovery.
came when I found that there are perfect sound for final chords. It
was as surprising as a baby finding out that mummy has a name too!
small discoveries followed almost everyday, and eventually mounted enough
that audiences began to notice and compliment. I am still discovering
something new everyday. I have finally gained confidence to make my
own unique performance.
What I hope
you are about to hear is a true representation of the music I hear in
this is named ‘Etude’, it was composed by Chopin, a composer of many
heart rendering music. I hope to recreate what I think Chopin himself
this may differ from all the wonderful recordings from the past, and
some of you will find it disconcerting. My performance is what I envisage
Chopin felt and I have recorded it on a CD and will perform to you tonight.
I will be
most delighted if you could enjoy with me my performance of what I think
Chopin himself imagined.