Hard work pays off – An Interview with the Flutist Masahide Kurita

English    Japanese


-What made you start playing flute?
When I was 12, I saw Sir James Galway's playing at a concert on TV and was enchanted by it. I thought the instrument, flute, looked splendid as it shimmered and the sound it made was beautiful, so I started learning it. I have practiced and practiced non-stop, hoping to be able to play like Sir Galway.

-How much time did you spend practicing back then?
When I was a primary school student, I'd wake up early and practice before going to school, and keep practicing after I got home. Although I was in the wind instrument club during my junior years, I became sure that I wanted to play professionally so I started taking individual lessons. I practiced in preparation for going to music high schools and colleges as well as for club activities.

-You're very hardworking. What is the charm of flutes that made you this passionate about it?
There's no reed in flutes. Your breath goes directly into it, which makes it easy to show your own moods. When you're feeling down, the tone colour becomes dark. When you're light-hearted, the tone colour you get becomes bright. It's interesting because moods can change the tone colour, even when it's played by the same person.

-It may sound different each time even if it's the same person playing the same piece right?
Exactly. It changes entirely.

-So it's important to keep the mental state well to be able to present a good performance. What do you do to help you do that?
I'm clear with my "On" and "Off" state. I make sure I get to relax because it's closely tied with the stability of my mind, and it broadens the depth of my expressions.

-I see. By the way, did you get any inspiration when you were off work lately?
Well, it happened when I was in Hawaii. I like travelling and the sea so I go there very often. It's soothing. Not doing any shopping or sightseeing that kind of things, but just relaxing on the beach. It's not limited to Hawaii though. I often get inspirations springing up when indulging myself in nature. Although theoretical approaches are important too, in the end I must perform my own musical style. So, I really treasure all the inspirations, experiences and the things I thought and felt when performing. 

(Image provided by Masahide Kurita)

-Why did you want to work in Melbourne?
I think the lifestyle and diversity of cultures are really nice. Also, I like aspects of the music industry, such as Melbourne Symphony Orchestra which is of high quality.

-Do you have any places in Melbourne you'd like to recommend?
I like Brighton Beach. I have a dog, and you can walk your dog along the beach in Australia, so I do walking and training with him there. The long pier is really nice too.

-That's a nice place. Well, back to music, is there any difference between the music environment of Japan and overseas?
There is a big market for classical music in Japan, America and Europe, but the industry is more compacted in Australia, so musicians are often acquainted with each other. You know they are your competitors but you also respect each other and mutually acknowledge each other as a musician.

-Is there any difference between audiences' reactions?
In Australia, I can clearly feel the reactions of the audiences when performing. Besides, the audiences would wait until I come out and give me feedback. It's common to have a tea ceremony after a concert, so I often get to communicate with my audiences. Also, here, I rarely get audiences falling asleep half way through.

-Is there any reaction from your audiences that you remember particularly?
Quite often I get audiences ended up crying. I'm very happy to see them understanding the music to such extent, which makes me want to work harder.

-Comparing Japan and overseas, which place is easier for working?
I think for me, it's easier overseas. I can express my opinions openly which makes it easy to communicate with other musicians. Also, like I said before, I get to see and hear audiences' reactions and feedback directly, which also make me really happy. It definitely feels better receiving direct feedback than reading it from the news paper afterwards.

-Do you have any challenge you want to take on from now on?
Probably a chamber music ensemble with violin, cello and viola. Also, even though I'm now based in Melbourne, I still want to do more performances in other places like Europe and the states. Plus, if I have more time in the future, I want to get a qualification in instrument repairing because then I can adjust it as the way I want.

-Please give some advice to those who are thinking about working overseas in the music industry.
This doesn't just apply to working overseas but hard work definitely pays off. On the way to achieving your goals or dreams, you may encounter uncertainties and difficulties, but don't give up. Just keep working towards it then it will become true. Always have a goal and a dream in mind. It's also important to pay attention to things other than music.

-Are you looking forward to the concerts to be held in Melbourne and Geelong in May and June?
Yes. I was in Japan for five, six years, and I've only got back in Melbourne in October last year so the concerts are going to be my first solo since my return. As a restart, it's going to be full of spirit so I think the concerts will be great.

-How is playing solo different from playing in the orchestra?
I'm responsible of everything when playing solo. I can arrange my own music and play it as the way I want which is really fun. With orchestra, it's tens of people playing one piece together, and there're instructions from the conductor, so it's necessary to be able to present certain tone colour and techniques. Also, a same piece of music may be interpreted differently from conductor to conductor, so this differences in grasping the music is also something to be learned.

-Lastly, please leave a message for your readers.
Although the concerts are of classical music, there are light and casual pieces too so there is no tension. I believe they are easy to listen to. There are very nice pieces included so anyone, even those who are not familiar with classical music, can enjoy. Please come!

Thank you very much, Mr. Kurita.

Interview: Chikako Kai and Ryoma Kosaka, Article: Chikako Kai, Photo: Ryoma Kosaka


Flute Fantasy

DATE: 20 May 3pm & 17 June 3pm
VENUE: Wyselaskie Auditorium (20 May)
29 College Crescent, Parkville
Kardinia International College Old Hall (17 June)
29-31 Kardinia Drive, Bell Post Hill
ADMISSION: $25 ($20 Concession)
Bookings essential (email: [email protected])


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