Rachel Kudo, who will perform in Glidden Recital Hall on Sunday, September 23 at 8 p.m. on Ohio University’s Athens campus. (Submitted)

Visiting Artist Rachel Kudo to Perform at OU Sept. 23

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On Sunday, September 23, accomplished American pianist Rachel Kudo will perform in Glidden Recital Hall, starting at 8 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

Kudo is a chamber musician, a soloist, and a recitalist who made her first splash in the world of classical piano at the age of 14 at the International Chopin Festival in Duszniki-Zdroj, Poland. At the age of 16, she made another impression on the world of classical piano by performing Tchaikovsky’s “First Concerto” with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Manuel de Falla’s “Nights in the Gardens of Spain.”

Since then, Kudo has managed to get an impressive number of accolades under her belt, including the prestigious 2008 Gilmore Young Artist Award, the Salon de Virtuosi Award, I.M.A. Music Award of Japan, a Level I Award at the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ Arts Recognition and Talent Search, and being named a Davidson Fellow Laureate by the Davidson Institute of Talent Development, and she was a scholarship recipient of the Rohm Music Foundation in Japan.

Most recently, Kudo was the first prize winner at the 2018 Leipzig International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition. WOUB asked the artist a few questions via email before her upcoming performance.

WOUB: Can you tell us about winning the 2018 Leipzig International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition earlier this year?

Rachel Kudo: It was an intense but wonderful experience. Leipzig is a beautiful city and immensely rich in its cultural history. Just walking through the streets, breathing the air, and passing the St. Thomas Church where Bach had worked was so inspiring. It was also exciting to work for the first time with a conductor-less ensemble in the finals. I really enjoyed the open communication and exchange of dialogue between myself and all of the members of the orchestra. Everyone had an equal voice and was not afraid to work together.

WOUB: You have so many accolades! Which are you most proud of?

RK: The (2018 Leipzig International Johann Sebastian) Bach competition is a great honor for me, but the best feeling is when I‘m able to meet people who are inspired or moved by the music I played.

WOUB: What advice do you have for music students studying piano at Ohio University?

RK: The best advice I can give is to be open and find ways to diversify yourself! Collaborations with other instrumentalists and vocalists, teaching, mentoring, or finding ways to create projects or to exchange ideas with non-musicians could be exciting and challenging.

WOUB: What are your goals right now?

RK: My musical goals are to continue learning new repertoire, to always expand my horizons, and to continue to play for people. On a personal note, I will be getting married next year… So our goal is to successfully plan the wedding!

WOUB: What can we expect from your show on Sunday, September 23 at Ohio University?

RK: The first half of my program are two works by Bach, published together in 1735 with the title “Clavier-Ubung Part II” and written originally for a two-manual harpsichord. The first is the Italian Concerto, a wonderfully sunny work, designed as a solo concerto and is full of life and joy. The second is the French Overture, which with 11 movements total, is the largest keyboard suite written by Bach. It is a work full of flair, drama, and grandiose. It ends with a memorable and catchy movement called “Echo,” which doesn’t appear in any other work by Bach. In the second half, I’ll play the last piano sonata by Mozart, playfully charming with a beautiful and poignant second movement, and  Schumann’s Carnaval, which is an incredibly vivid work where both real and imaginary characters in Schumann’s life make appearances for grand and colorful festivities.