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Otoha Tabata - Viola

Interview

1- You currently study with Nathan Braude at the Royal College of Music London. How is this progressing?

Studying with Nathan has been an eye-opener for as a musician, in terms of creativity and thinking outside of the box. During the last year, I learnt that imagination and creativity does not have any rules or restrictions. The more we try to understand the music, the more ways we find to express it.

2- Is your family musical?

My parents are very interested in classical music, but they are not professional musicians. When they gave me the violin and brought me to lessons, I quickly became immersed in playing the pieces, and found satisfaction in being able to express myself through music.

3- You studied violin with Akiko Ono and viola with Boris Kucharsky from 2016 at the Yehudi Menuhin School. How do you recall those times and these masters?

Being a student at the Yehudi Menuhin School was like being in a big family, growing up together as musicians. Both Akiko Ono and Boris Kucharsky guided me through these years, to always become the best player and musician I can be. Both my teachers supported me and inspired to be deeply passionate about what we do. I started at a young age, and had a chance to develop my basics and virtuosity, and to find my creative mind.

4- In December 2017, you performed Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with SongHa Choi and the Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Butcher. How do you recall this special moment?

Performing with the WPO was a wonderful experience, as we musicians learn and absorb so much by performing with an orchestra. Hearing the tutti sound around me, and having different colours of the instruments was so special. I was incredibly lucky to have been able to perform with SongHa as we created an interpretation together, and developed it as we worked on the piece. Performing with a special friend is always great fun, and I love to perform with artists who inspire me.

5- What are your fondest musical memories, privately or performing?

I love to perform together with people. Playing, performing, or sight-reading together with wonderful colleagues gave me new insights and ideas. Making music together makes the room fill with passion and energy that is indescribable. The experience that made me first interested in the viola was in chamber music. From the middle range, we are able to change and direct the ensemble with our variety in colours and characters in a subtle but certain way. The unique colour the viola has is beautiful in a solo setting, but the power the viola has in an ensemble is crucial too. That is why my dream is to become a versatile musician- a soloist, a chamber musician, an orchestral player, and much more.

6- Would you consider teaching music in the future?

I would definitely consider teaching in the future. By participating in a project run by Nicola Benedetti and the Benedetti Foundation, I felt the happiness and excitement from the children learning we guided them throughout the day. Music truly brings people together in any form, and it is a great joy to be able to invite others to this world.

7- What advice would you give to fellow music students at the start of their journey?

I think the most important thing to remember as a musician, is our love for music and why we do this. I would advise anybody to always surround oneself with people who are passionate and inspirational. Music is a collaborative art form, even when it is performed alone. By placing ourselves with people like this and regularly communicating with them musically, we are able to practice this fundamental skill.

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submission March 2020