I have always held a strong connection to Finland and it’s people, having performed there many times, making wonderful friendships over the years. I find Finnish culture extremely close to that of the Japanese people.
When I was preparing for a concerto performance with the Tampere Philharmonic in 2016, I wanted to find an encore piece which would really connect with the local people. I decided to adapt ‘Kuusi’ since it is widely known by the Finnish people, akin to other masterworks by Sibelius such as ‘Finlandia’ and his ‘Violin Concerto’.
The composition is highly evocative and whenever I play this piece I imagine the crisp, clean air, the sound of snowfall and the spruce; standing strongly and beautifully across the backdrop of the snowy iconic Finnish landscape.
Originally I intended to premiere a marimba concerto by my dear friend, Jouni Kaipainen at the Tampere concert. Unfortunately he passed away before his piece was finished. I will forever treasure his friendship and musicianship.