A classical recital by one of Japan’s most renowned pianists, Ingrid Fuzjko Hemming, captivated audiences at the Brooklyn Theatre in Pretoria last night.
Photo Credits Ziyaad Plaatjes
The concert formed part of a Japanese Cultural Expo held in the Jacaranda city to celebrate Japan’s 100-year bilateral relationship with South Africa.
The performance was a first on the African continent for the highly-acclaimed concert pianist. Born in Germany to a Japanese mother and Swedish father, Fuzjko started playing piano at an early age under the guidance of her mother, herself an accomplished pianist.
She later studied under classical pianist, Leonid Kreutzer, as well as at the Tokyo National University of Fine Art and Music and the Berlin Institute of Music. When she was a teenager, Kreutzer predicted Fuzjko would soon become a world-famous musician with the ability to move people deeply with her incredible performances.
Then the unthinkable happened. During a stay in Vienna Fuzjko lost her hearing due to illness, only recovering some of it in her left ear some time later. This didn’t stop her from playing her beloved instrument and going on to record her popular debut album, La Campanella, in 1999.
The album launched Fuzjko’s international career and she went on to play in major concert venues in New York, London, Paris and Berlin. La Campanella sold over two million copies and Fuzjko received the Japan Gold Disc Award and Album of the Year Award four times, a feat that has never been achieved by any other artist.
On concluding her performance, Fuzjko thanked the audience for their rapt attention, as well as her manager for persuading her to visit South Africa.
“This is my first recital in South Africa and on the continent. My perception of this beautiful place has changed entirely. Performing in a new place always excites me. I’m so happy to be here and look forward to visiting again.”