Pianist Mana Tokuno Celebrates Chopin’s 200th Birthday

Faculty Pianist Mana Tokuno vibrated the atmosphere of the Cochran Chapel as she performed six amazing pieces by composers Frederic Chopin and Robert Schumann, in honor of their 200th birthday. Tokuno started off with Chopin’s “Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23.” The first notes surprised the audience as Tokuno started the piece with strong, loud notes that quickly blended with a soft melody. Towards the end of the piece, Tokuno showed off her piano skills as she played a complicated but beautiful scale. After a brief break, Tokuno continued with her performanc. She played “Nocturnes, Op. 37,” another Chopin piece. Unlike Tokuno’s first performance, this set of Nocturnes has a slower tempo. The mellow and soft sound of the piano filled the Chapel, almost like a lullaby. The fourth piece on the program was “Scherzo No. 3 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 39,” also by Chopin. This piece had a mixture of somber tunes with happy, spirited melodies. Tokuno started off playing very slowly and softly. The music, initially, was so low the audience had to strain to listen to the music. Her fingers then started to speed up, and she changed to a livelier melody. Throughout the piece, Tokuno successfully transitioned back and forth between two different tones. Tokuno continued her recital with another Chopin piece, “Barcarolle, Op. 60.” Tokuno demonstrated her musical prowess by playing a combination of high notes and low notes that seemed to match together perfectly. After five pieces, a brief intermission allowed the audiences to reflect on Tokuno’s wonderful skills. “You can really see the passion she has … I think she can really bring music to life.” said Nicolas Serna ’10. “She was really good at illustrating the breathless beauty of the pieces,” said David Lim ’12, Tokuno’s student. The recital resumed once again, and this time Tokuno started playing Robert Schumann’s “Davidsbundlertanze, Op. 6.” The last two pieces were very different from Chopin’s pieces from before. The “Davidsbundlertanze” has a faster and brighter mood, resembling a dance. The audience was amazed to see Tokuno’s hands run across the piano keys from high notes to low notes, almost creating an illusion of dialogues between two people. Tokuno’s recital was a success. As soon as she finished her last piece, the audience gave her a standing ovation as Tokuno walked off stage with a big smile. After the performance, members of the audience gathered around Tokuno to congratulate her. Omegar Chavolla-Zacarias ’12 said, “I thought [the performance] was incredible, she played so beautifully.” The recital was in celebration of the 200th birthdays of Chopin and Schummann, both born in 1810. “The two are very different, even though they were both born in the same year,” said Tokuno. She described each piece as a story. “I am the story teller, I need to sort of get in the mood, of course.” Certainly, Tokuno’s performance delivered seven different types of stories to the audience. The Andover community can enjoy later performances by Tokuno, for she will not disappoint.