Naomi Kudo thread

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Naomi Kudo thread

Postby pianoman » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:11 pm

Here's an interesting new pianist I heard in a live performance on WFMT Chicago. I heard her play some Chopin, I believe it was the andante spianato and a scherzo but could be wrong. She has a way of playing runs where the notes are timed perfectly like geometric fractals. There isn't much out there on Kudo, so it's impossible to say what her range is, but her Chopin has the potential to set a new standard IMO. I wonder why she hasn't started a recording career yet or been signed to a record label.

Her website: http://www.naomikudo.com/

Here is a youtube video of her playing Carl Vine's (Australia) Piano Sonata No. 1 at the Van Cliburn Piano Competition in 2009. I tried to find some Chopin, but apparently not out there. This woman sounds like a computer!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWBv82A5l7M

Here's a paragraph from the bio on her website:
Born in Washington D.C. to Japanese-Korean parents, Naomi began studying piano at the age of four with the late Emilio del Rosario at the Music Institute of Chicago. While spending her childhood in Japan, she studied with Taeko Shinpo and Haruko Kasama, and subsequently resumed her studies at the age of fourteen with Emilio del Rosario in Chicago and with Kum-Sing Lee of the Vancouver Music Academy. She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Juilliard School as a student of Yoheved Kaplinsky and Joseph Kalichstein, and further studied with Richard Goode at the Mannes College of Music

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Re: Naomi Kudo thread

Postby pianoman » Sun Jul 13, 2014 5:27 pm

Naomi Kudo plays accompaniment to a quasi-jazz transcription project of Canadian trumpeter Brandon Ridenour:

Naomi has recorded a new album titled "Fantasies and Fairy Tales" with trumpeter, composer, and arranger Brandon Ridenour! The album features Brandon's original compositions, as well as arrangements of music by Debussy, Scriabin, Brahms, Ravel, Bartok, Schumann, and Prokofiev.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF6bfgLvFk0
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Re: Naomi Kudo thread

Postby reefkeeper » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:25 am

great find! she is definitely someone to keep an eye out for in the future. she has a great career ahead of her.
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Re: Naomi Kudo thread

Postby pianoman » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:41 pm

There is some great new footage of Kudo's performances at the Rubinstein competition this summer. This is the first stage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JatzN3J7GE
Chopin Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise Brillante
in E flat Major Op.22
Debussy Prelude No. 5 from Book II "Bruyeres"
Debussy Prelude No. 12 from Book I "Minstrels"
Schumann Carnaval Op. 9

The Arthur Rubinstein Piano Master Competition (5/2014, Tel Aviv).

Finally almost two albums worth of complete performances by her (I will review stage two later). The Chopin Andante is very strong. I didn't remember the live performance I heard having a lyrical quality, but she plays the Andante quite tastefully and with control. The ornaments sparkle. The Polonaise sounds a little overpracticed to me (maybe just nerves or something) but you can hear how much digital control Kudo has in the runs.

I was going to skip over the Debussy, but decided to listen to the whole thing through. She reminds me here very much of the Finnish pianist Olli Mustonen. She has strong fingers, a tendency to search for rhythmic complexity, and an understated sense of poetry. The Prelude No. 12 particularly sounds a lot like Mustonen's album of Sibelius piano miniatures. There is a sharpness and a natural sense of syncopation to the left hand part that sounds very much like Mustonen.

Surprisingly, the best performance here is the Schumann. Kudo's tendancy to syncopate, her ability to handle complexity for complexity's sake and to find a voice for each successive whimsical passage of this work, really shows it off in the best possible light. I can only tolerate Schumann in small doses, but Kudo's Carnaval is entirely listenable.
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Re: Naomi Kudo thread

Postby pianoman » Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:35 pm

Here is the second stage recital:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSWr7ych1As
Haydn Sonata Hob. XVI/50 in C Major
Carl Vine Piano Sonata No.1 (1990)
Debussy Prelude No. 10 from Book I "La Cathedrale Engloutie"
Ella Milch-Sheriff Reflections on Love, No. 1,4,2
Chopin Scherzo No. 3 in C sharp Minor Op. 39

The Arthur Rubinstein Piano Master Competition (5/2014, Tel Aviv).

Unfortunately, the second recital is weaker than the first. The best selection is the Haydn Sonata: a spongy, pliant classicism with very good soft staccato playing in the middle movement and wonderful phrasing.

Kudo performs Vine's Sonata No. 1, which is complete here (two movements) as opposed to the second movement highlight linked above. In the five years since the first video, she has apparently worked on making her performance more nuanced, which seems to have a diminishing effect on this particular piece. The glorious pattern serialism in the second movement is reduced to nearly a sotto voce for large stretches and the tempo reigned in a bit, which collapses the effect of brute logic in the first video. This should absolutely be played as straightforward and impersonally as possible. The slow middle section of the second movement seems also to have lost some of its tragic immediacy. Parts of the first movement come out the same way: slightly stretched out with a somewhat unconnected line. While this treatment gives the sonata a broader overall scope--maybe less gimmicky to some--there is something to be said for not overthinking.

None of the other pieces are notable, not even the Chopin. Competition performances are just a snapshot of any musician's career. It's possible Kudo was just having an off day during this recital.
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