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

Art is virtuosity

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