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Junko Fujiwara Junko Fujiwara

What brought you to music?

“I come from a family of musicians, so I wasn’t really brought to music, but rather music was brought to me. My dad is a piano technician whose family had a music store in Japan. He played violin when he was younger and still plays some piano. My mom was a vocal major in college, and she had a private piano studio in Japan. My sister has a master’s degree in piano performance and also played some violin.

I started piano lessons when I was four years old. When I was five or six, I performed my first piano recital. The song was not “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.It was an angular, surrealist song written by Jane Smisor Bastien, entitled “My Green Umbrella” (the inspiration for my Outpost series name). It started innocently with a pentatonic scale, but quickly mutated into augmented intervals and chromatic runs; so I guess that even from the beginning, I’ve always been drawn to music which is a little bit “outside.” Ms. Mieko Nasu, my first and only piano teacher, is still alive and teaching piano today. My dad still tunes her piano. She is about 103 years old.

When I was nine years old, my sister asked me what stringed instrument I wanted to play. I didn’t want to play the violin because she already played it. I didn’t want to play the viola because I didn’t want to learn alto clef, and the double bass was just too big for me. One day she brought a cello home from school for me to try. It was a perfect fit. So that’s how I wound up playing the cello.

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