Musical virtuoso's 'Romance with France' in Shanghai

Ryu Goto is to present his "Romance with France" concert when he appears in front of a Shanghai audience in June.
Kishin Shinoyama / Ti Gong

Japanese-American violinist Ryu Goto

Musical virtuoso Ryu Goto is to present his “Romance with France” concert in Shanghai in June.

The Japanese-American violinist will play Chausson’s “Poem,” Debussy’s “Sonata for Violin and Piano” and “La fille aux cheveux de lin,” as well as Sant-Saens’ “Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in D minor” and “Introduction and Rando Capriccioso.” 

Chinese pianist Shi Jiayi will accompany the former child prodigy.

“Debussy, I find, was very experimental,” says the 29-year-old, “and this will be the first time I will be playing his work in a concert. All these composers share a lineage that ties them together, and it is interesting to see the stylistic hallmarks of each, and the evolution from one to another. Chausson, in particular, gives me an unparalleled sense of emotional depth, while Saint-Saens demonstrates a more traditional mastery of composition.”

In Goto’s view, the French cultural outlook is a complex thing, and there are various factors contributing to French musical taste. To understand this atmosphere you must immerse yourself in the writings, history and various artworks of the time. It may also help travel to some famous French cities to get a sense of the mannerisms, cuisine and culture that defines “Frenchness.”

Goto is the younger brother of renowned violinist Midori Goto. The younger Goto first gained attention as a child prodigy, performing at the age of 7 at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. His debut tour of 12 Japanese cities in 2006 sold out. 

Goto has performed internationally as a solo artist with the London Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been performing with the Stradivarius 1722 violin “Jupiter” for six years after the Nippon Music Foundation loaned it to him.

“I think of the instrument as my sibling or teammate. I used to believe that in playing an instrument over the years, it would become more and more my sound,” says Goto. “However, I have to come to realize that the unique qualities of the instrument have given me many new unexpected ideas and slowly transformed my musicianship. In this way, the influence has gone both ways, and now we are a solid team exploring all kinds of different music.”

Goto is generally a relaxed performer on stage but in some pieces he lets his spontaneous inspiration and the music take him to another place.

“I believe there is an atmosphere to every piece, and depending on the work I perform, I do try to capture its essence in the physical presence. Yet, this does not change the fact that I enjoy them. I try to convey that enjoyment separately from the piece’s meaning,” says Goto.

Performance details

Date: June 16, 7:30pm
Tickets: 80-580 yuan
Tel: 6854-1234
Venue: Shanghai Oriental Arts Center
Address: 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong New Area

Ayako Yamamoto / Ti Gong
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