|Bringing joy: Blind pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii will perform in Ha Noi and HCM City tomorrow and Friday. — File Photo
HA NOI (VNS )— Visually impaired Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii will make his debut at the Ha Noi Opera House tomorrow in the highlight of a series of activities being held to mark the 40 years of diplomatic ties between Viet Nam and Japan.
The 24-year old pianist will follow his solo performances in Ha Noi with a show at HCM City's Conservatory of Music on Friday.
"I have never been in Viet Nam, or indeed any country in Southeast Asia, so visiting now is a very interesting opportunity to me," he said in an exclusive interview with the Viet Nam Television magazine.
Tsujii will perform a repertoire of pieces that he has publicly played 40 times around the world since last autumn. "I'm confident and excited to play for Vietnamese audiences," he said.
Tsujii, who was born in Tokyo in 1988 to a physician and a television presenter, has a developmental disorder of the eyes.
His musical talent was first discovered by his mother at a very young age.
"My parents didn't want me to become a professional pianist. They just hoped the piano would bring me joy and they left me free to play it and I started having lessons," he said in the interview.
He began his formal study of piano at the age of four. In 1995, he won first prize at the All Japan Music Competition of Blind Students organised by the Tokyo Helen Keller Association. At the age of 10, he made his debut with the Century Orchestra in Osaka and he gave his first piano recital in Tokyo's Suntory Hall at age of 12. His overseas debut followed and he soon performed in the US, France and Russia.
He received a Critics' Award at the 15th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition held in Warsaw, Poland.
At the 47th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition held in 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas, Tsujii became the first Japanese pianist, and the first blind artist in the world, to win the first prize.
Since that triumph he has travelled around the world performing recitals and concerts and astonishing audiences everywhere.
In Japan, Tsujii is revered and a biography about him is included on the reading list in the nation's schools. Such is the popularity of the young pianist, many of his concerts sell out in minutes and lotteries are held to distribute tickets. Although he is not yet as well-known outside of Japan, Tsujii's fame is rising fast, and demand for his shows internationally is increasing.
The Vietnamese concerts will begin at 8pm tomorrow and Friday and are being televised. Free tickets are being made available to the public through Viet Nam Television, which is co-organising the event.
In addition to Tsujii's performances, an exchange will be hosted between Japanese astronaut Noguchi Soichi - leader of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's astronaut team - and Vietnamese Hero of the People's Armed Forces Lt Gen Pham Tuan. Various activities will also be held to introduce Japanese cuisine, fashion and traditional music to Viet Nam as part of the anniversary celebrations. — VNS