Koki Nakano, pianist & composer

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

My piano teacher, who I studied with when I was 15-18 years old, was the most important influence on my musical life. I feel all my approaches for performance, even for the composition, are grounded in what I studied with her in a sense. She taught  me how much and how deeply we are capable of sharing, to address non-verbal information together with other people.

Who or what inspired your album Oceanic Feeling? 

The workshop I had with the visual artist Kohei Nawa and the choreographer Damien Jalet in the bay in north Japan. The experience there became the first inspiration for my new album. We built the structure in the sea for dancers and put the piano on the water. I performed and improvised and we spent 3 days together with 6 dancers, soaking in the water.

In this performance, I felt a strong sense of synchronization with dancers and the environment. I was convinced again of an inseparableness between music and dance and I was very aware that this feeling was very much supported by water.  Then a few months later, I discovered the word ‘Oceanic Feeling’ , the word coined by Romain Roman to describe the feeling of being one with the other objects or the world.

What have been the greatest challenges of your collaboration as a musician so far?

It is the creation for the Paris Opera. It was a collaboration with the choreographer Damien Jalet and the visual artist JR. I had to compose most of the piece in 10 days, after all the choreography was done. It was a very thrilling and pleasing experience.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of? 

It’s the newest work always.

What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?

Seeing contemporary dance has been the main inspiration during these years. Also researching topics and gathering inspirations from different fields are very important.  It shapes my presence on the stage.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

Last year I had an opportunity to perform at the opening gala of Paris Opera, besides 9 dancers at the Palais Garnier. Acoustics there are so intimate, regardless of the size of the theatre. It was ideal.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

When I was 16 years old, while I was playing Chopin’s Ballade No. 4. A very liberated feeling from within myself came upon me.  That feeling still remains in me.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

If I still have the strong will to compose until the end of the day, then I will consider it successful for me.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

To be moved by the wonderfulness of the world.

‘Oceanic Feeling’ is available now

Koki Nakano  is a composer and a pianist, born in 1988 in Fukuoka, Japan.

After graduating Music High School at Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, he enrolled at the composition department of Tokyo University of the Arts.

He has performed recitals at the Louvre and the Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris), Cadogan Hall (London), Lincoln Center (New York). He released his first album Lift in 2016, in collaboration with French cellist Vincent Segal under the Paris-based label Nø Førmat!.

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