Ayako Higurashi: Music moves you in an inexplicable way
“I come from Japan, where I studied the euphonium for four years in the bachelor’s programme at Kunitachi College of Music. Later on I took an advanced, two-year course for soloists in the same school. I eventually ended up in the Sibelius Academy in 2013 and I’m now doing my master’s studies here.
In general, how I have been exposed to music is due to my mother, who is a music teacher. She used to take me to her band club activities when I was young. I actually wanted to play the saxophone originally. But because it was so popular in my school, I decided to switch to the euphonium. I found it appealing, the fact that it isn’t so popular compared to other brass instruments. It also isn’t a common orchestra instrument. The euphonium has a kind of thick and soft sound, and warmth, much like a baritone singer’s voice. The euphonium is actually gaining popularity now in Japan because of a TV animation show there.
The biggest reason I came to Sibelius Academy is my current teacher Jukka Myllys.
In 2006 Jukka Myllys visited our school in Japan for a master class and a concert. In Japan, I was used to taking many master classes from different musicians. But for some reason, Jukka’s performance moved my heart. I can’t really explain it. Many players only have great technical skill, but Jukka’s performance was somehow touching. He is the only performer whose playing has made me cry.
Two years later I came to Finland for lessons from Myllys. I also got a chance to have a tour around Sibelius Academy. It was then that I became convinced of studying here. I felt I had no other choice. I learned English for two years and applied to Sibelius Academy and got in.”
Read Ayako Higurashi's full interview at uniarts.fi.
Art is virtuosity
What will we and Finland be remembered for? Those who have accomplished something bigger than themselves – usually the best artists of our time and their work. People who have been trained at the University of the Arts Helsinki. Art gives us the permission to feel big and powerful emotions. Virtuosity means superior skill that will leave its mark on history.
We need art now more than ever before in Finland. Art gives us a more forward-looking point of view – a fresher and sharper perspective. Educational know-how combined with the right resources will ensure the upswing of Finland’s culture, education and economy. The University of the Arts Helsinki is collecting capital for the first time through private donations. The Government will support the university fundraising by matching the donation with a sum that is up to triple the sum of each donation.
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