Pianos Beaverton OR
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments
Digital Piano, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano
Acoustic Piano, Digital Piano, Organs
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Organs, Print Music
Lake Oswego, OR
Digital Piano, Band & Orchestral, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music
Digital Piano, Electronic Keyboard, Band & Orchestral, Drums & Percussion, Sound Reinforcement, Recording Equipment, Guitars & Fretted Instruments, Print Music, DJ Equipment
Ryuichi Sakamoto on Composing, Creativity, and Conscience
“The piano is the closest instrument in my life,” visionary Japanese composer and instrumentalist Ryuichi Sakamoto tells me during a recent visit to his Manhattan studio. “I started playing piano when I was three, and I still do, even now. I compose on it, and often go back to it to perform orchestral music I have written. So the piano is always with me.”
Sakamoto’s pianistic, electronic, and compositional work has been revered the world over for more than three decades. From his groundbreaking, synth-centric work in Yellow Magic Orchestra, to his soaring scores for films such as Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and The Last Emperor (the latter of which won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1987), Sakamoto’s work transcends boundaries of style and form—always seemingly effortlessly.
Your new double album Playing the Piano/Out of Noise seems to represent two very distinct sides of your musical personality. How did the pairing come about?
Well, the albums are different. The first one, Playing the Piano, is a piano album, and is a compilation of two albums I made in 2004 and 2005. The second one, Out of Noise, is my latest solo album, and it’s more electronic. They’re from different places, but the record label wanted to release them as one. And that’s okay. [Laughs.]
I was struck by the wide spectrum of apparent musical influences on Playing the Piano. There are nods to composers like Debussy, Astor Piazzolla, and Antonio Carlos Jobim on it. Who were your musical influences when you were coming up?
My influences are really wide. When I started playing the piano, I played Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. After Beethoven, I encountered Debussy when I was 12 or 13, and I was totally into it. Then, naturally, I followed with Ravel, Bartok, Stravinsky—and then Messiaen, Boulez, Stockhausen, and so on. But around the same time, I encountered the music of the Beatles! So it was almost like parallel universes: pop and rock on one side, and classical music on the other. When I entered high school, I started listening to jazz, and when I went to university, I studied ethnic music. So it’s always been like that. It still is, even now.
In the liner notes of your new album, you say, “As people get older, normally their ears close to new sounds. My ears get more open as I get older—I hear something surprising every day.” Are you always listening to new music?
Yes, but new music doesn’t mean only recent music. It could be very old music. For example, when I grew up, we didn’t have many recordings of Renaissance or medieval music. So I never heard or listened to it. Now, there are countless recordings of that music, but it’s totally new to me. Other new sounds—like this guy. [Sakamoto reaches over and plays an RMI Electra-Piano.] I think this RMI is one of the earliest electronic pianos. I love my Roland EP-10 as well. I’m also excited about my new Yamaha Celeste and Kawai toy piano. So that’s probably my natural ...