Japanese pianist Jun Kanno wows Karachi

Japanese pianist Jun Kanno wows Karachi

Kanno’s impressive experience and depth is recognised the world over
26 May, 2017

The prodigious performance of eminent Japanese pianist Jun Kanno at the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) on Wednesday was a balm for weary souls. The power and grace with which Kanno played brought drama to the Napa auditorium and a truly deserving standing ovation.

Kanno’s impressive experience and depth is recognised the world over. He has played with several orchestras, including in Munich, Berlin, Prague and even with the Korean National Orchestra.

He collaborated with Napa students on the piano on the classic folksong ‘Sakura’ which means cherry blossom. The song is a depiction of the spring season which brings in its fold the beautiful cherry blossom flower. The students did well with singing the Japanese lyrics to Kanno’s playing.

Effortlessly gliding fingers, playful tunes quickly transforming into a sombre ballad, Kanno had the audience arrested each time he played the piano.

He made the effort to build a story and provide the audience with a glimpse of the world he belongs to.

Speaking to the audience, Kanno expressed his delight at being able to collaborate with Pakistani musicians at Napa. Along with Ustad Nafees Ahmed on the sitar, Kanno was part of a jugalbandi on Mozart’s self-titled rondo ‘Alla turca’ — a thrilling expe­­rience.

Kanno played Western composers in the first half of the evening including the likes of Mozart and Beethoven. He then decided to play the tunes of Japanese composer of classical music Akira Ifukube, who passed away in 2006.

It was then that Kanno truly shined. One could feel him narrating a story of starry nights and violent waters, of calm shores and dreams that defy comprehension, overall uplifting the mood of everyone present in the auditorium. The Japanese composition, Ifu­kube’s ‘Piano Suite’, beautifully painted Japanese folklore thr­ough soft melodic composition.

“Ifukube was a self-made musician who did not receive formal training. His composition of ‘Piano Suite’ is inspired by Japanese folklore,” said Kanno.

Ustad Nafees also played raag Bhopali for the audience. As a tribute to the guest of honour, Jun Kanno, Ustad Nafees played the raag first in the style which is popular in the Far East. He later switched back to the traditional style.

Originally published in Dawn, May 26th, 2017


as May 26, 2017 09:38am
How come these events are not publicized adequately. I would have loved to attend this.
music fan May 26, 2017 10:44am
I wish foreign consulates like Goethe Institute, British Council, Italian consulate and so many others with NAPA or any organization organize more concerts to the culturally and entertainment starved people of Karachi, there is so much talent in this world, and in our own city, yet there are few organizations or individuals who bring this for the people to enjoy. A city like Karachi of about 20 million people can afford to pay for tickets of say Rs.1000/- per head for concerts. There are organisations which can donate and promote talent, there is so much potential, I wish music enthusiast take up this challenge.