Japanese pianist Jun Kanno strikes a chord with Karachi -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Japanese pianist Jun Kanno strikes a chord with Karachi

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI : The idea of bridging cultures through music may be an old but it’s still very effective as it transcends languages, cultural differences and borders.

With this spirit, National Academy of Performing Arts’ (Napa) aptly titled ‘Bridging Cultures through Music’ came to an end on May 24. The three-day juncture had begun with a tribute to sitarist Ustad Rais Khan on the first day, a mehfil-e-ghazal on the second day, and finally concluded with the performance by Jun Kanno, a Japanese pianist.

The concert marked the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development and was a joint venture between the United Nations Information Centre and Napa, with the support of the embassies of Austria, Germany and Japan.

A tuneful tribute to Ustad Rais Khan

Kanno is one of the most internationally acclaimed Japanese musicians performing today, with many accolades under his belt, including performing with the Munich Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Berlin, Salzburg, Prague, and several others. The maestro mesmerised the audience with his soft piano notes as the choir of Napa students added another layer to the performance.
Kanno also played solo pieces by Mozart and Beethoven. Ustad Nafees Ahmed followed it up by playing Raag Bhopali on sitar, which almost put everyone in a trance. Kanno returned with another performance, this time, playing pieces by famous Japanese composer Akira Ifukube. The latter was a self-taught composer, known for his work in orchestral, chamber and film music, especially that of 1954’s Godzilla. Kanno played three pieces by Ifukube, including his first one Piano Suite.

However, the best part of the show was the jugalbandi between Ahmed and Kanno. The musical conversation between Ahmed’s sitar chords and Kanno’s piano keys livened up the audience.

Speaking with The Express Tribune, the pianist said it was his first time performing in Pakistan. “I am quite happy to be here and it was a great experience playing for the Pakistani audience. The response has been positive and people are really enthusiastic, especially in Karachi,” he said. “I met the young people of Napa and the collaboration was really beautiful… I hope they appreciated my presence too.”

Kanno even held a workshop with the Napa students. “The mood was relaxed and it kind of turned into a master class. The students played for me and I gave them some advice. I think the communication between us is very well established.”

On whether he saw potential in the students, Kanno said, “They have great potential! I think they must be encouraged by all means and at all levels, be it financially or otherwise.” He shared that he spent two days in Karachi, which proved to be very exciting. Asked if he plans to come back for more performances, the musician responded, “I hope so. If that’s what people want then why not?”

The Express Tribune

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