Interview, Suzuki’s Cultural Influences: Japan to Canada

Type:Interview (text)

“I adore things that are intricate, fragile, but strong at the same time: fragile on the surface, but containing a thin and strong support underneath that prevents everything from falling apart. Perhaps the combination of intricacy, fragility and strength is how I view the features of the Japanese culture.” – K.S.

Japanese culture is difficult to explain. One aspect of it, Suzuki offers, is the concept of “respect, such as respect of nature and wisdom. One is discouraged from being content with what one has already achieved, and to continuously seek for improvement. This is why it is highly admirable to fully focus solely on one element, and to strive to achieve the highest mastery in this chosen area.”

Suzuki traveled a great deal in her youth, and only lived in Japan for seven years. Minyo (the Japanese word for ‘folk music’), the string quartet featured here, was her first attempt to interpret Japanese cultural traditions in a western environment. Because of her well-traveled past, Suzuki was searching for a sense of belonging at this time, and for the next five years, all of her compositions were influenced by Japanese traditional music. Eventually she realised that her cultural heritage would always be present, whether she consciously included elements of it in her creative work or not. “It is not important for me (now) that one connects my music to a specific cultural heritage,” she writes. “It is more important for me that my works give a unique experience to the listeners.”

Credits:Dr. Mary Ingraham
Subject:Kotoka Suzuki | Minyo
Related People:Kotoka SuzukiKotoka Suzuki
Created Date2007