Magazine “Musica Nova” March 2003, p.31 CD Review by Takashi Momose

Reiko Nakatsukasa Piano Recital “Songs of Clowns”

Reiko Nakatsukasa, a pianist, has studied both at the University of Victoria and the University of British Colombia in Canada after attending institutions including the Royal Academy of Music in England, and received second prize in the 8th Pacific Piano Competition in February of last year. This album is a live recording from her recital at Toppan Hall, Tokyo. She exhibits a sharp, polished sense combined with a vivid touch. Every piece has a certain refinement and is rich in expression. In particular, the performance of Ravel’s “Alborada del gracioso” has great depth of expression despite her young age.  

Chopin, March 2002 (p.122) concert review by Reiko Yuasa

”Variety of Clowns – Reiko Nakatsukasa Piano Recital”

Reiko Nakatsukasa, who is currently studying in Canada, presented a unique recital entitled “Songs of Clowns”; a flexible approach that attests to her broad perspective of music. As the depiction of clowns differed from piece to piece, she did not limit her interpretation of these characters to just that of the comical and satirical, but also paid attention to such emotional elements as sorrow and lunacy.

The three pieces from Ravel’s “Miroirs” including “Alborada del gracioso” and Szymanowski’s “Masques” in the first half of the program were played enthusiastically with much dynamic contrast; however some fortissimos and accents seemed too aggressive and the tempo too tense in some parts.  What she should incorporate into her performance is more flexibility of sound without concerning technique at the surface, and she should try to express the spiritual sentiment inherent in each piece. For the pieces by Debussy and Liszt in the latter half of the program, on the other hand, she seemed to have resumed her composure and played them with free-spirited expression.  What was especially impressive about her rather slow performance of Debussy’s “Preludes” was its exaggerated playfulness.  Liszt’s “Venezia e Napoli” was depicted carefully, but the ornamentations could have been played more naturally in a cantabile style. The last piece of the program, “Tarantella,” was an excellent performance with a consistent quality in every tone throughout. It was very interesting program; however perhaps order of the pieces should be reconsidered, as the first half of the program seemed too heavy for her to show the best of her character.  (Toppan Hall, November 23, 2001)

Magazine Ongaku Gendai (Music Today) January 2002 concert review by Yukiko Hagiya

Magazine Ongaku Gendai (Music Today) January 2002 concert review by Yukiko Hagiya

Reiko Nakatsukasa graduated from the Royal College of Music and has done post-graduate programs at two universities in England. Currently she is in the D.M.A. Program at the University of British Columbia in Canada. At this concert, with the theme ‘songs of clowns’, she played pieces by Ravel, Szymanowski, Debussy, and Liszt. It is intriguing how she expanded the nuances of the clown’s world, full of laughter and tears, to themes of human suffering and insanity. 

In the first half, she played Ravel’s “Miroirs” followed by three pieces from Szymanowski’s “Masques.” She relaxed somewhat in the Szymanowski pieces and was able to realize their original portrayal of an inner world, as was the composer’s intention of cutting into human introspection from an unique angle.

After the intermission, she played Debussy’s “La Danse de Puck,” “Minstrels” and “General Lavine – eccentric.” Although excessively expressive in certain parts, she succeeded in expressing each piece’s individual character. In Liszt’s “Venezia e Napoli” she incorporated various effective touches and gave a good performance overall.

“ymf” Yamaha Music Foundation No.24, January 2002, p.11

Recipient of Yamaha Musical Activity Award for 2001

As a recipient of Yamaha Musical Activity Award for 2001, the award ceremony for which was reported in ymf No.19, Ms.Reiko Nakatsukasa held a piano recital at Toppan Hall, Tokyo, on November 23 last year. 

After receiving her BMus degree from Royal College of Music and completing advanced studies in accompaniment at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in England, Ms. Nakatsukasa is now studying in the D.M.A. program at the University of British ColumbiaCanada Her career also includes the 1st prize for the concerto competition at Watford Festival of Music, Speech and Drama for her performance of Mozart Piano Concerto #17, as well as a number of performances inside and outside Japan as both a solo and chamber pianist. 

In this recital entitled “Songs of Clowns,” she introduced a unique program of three pieces from Ravel’s “Miroirs” followed by Szymanowski’s “Masques,” three pieces from Debussy’s “Preludes” and Liszt’s “Venezia e Napoli”  With natural expression and musicality, Reiko performed the different pictures of clowns engraved with each composer’s unique individuality.  Her impressive technique in “Tarantella,” the third piece in “Venezia e Napoli,” in particular, made a deep impression on all who attended this sold-out performance.

Magazine Ongaku no Tomo (Friends of Music), June 2001 (p.195) concert review by Ken Fukumoto

Pianist Reiko Nakatsukasa played two nocturnes by Chopin, Ravel’s “Miroirs” and Schumann’s “Fantasie,” all of which were executed with a unique sense of expression emphasizing quiet tones. In each piece, Ms. Nakatsukasa expressed more personal feeling and reading than merely literal representation of the score. Her romantic sensibility and passion for the Chopin and the Schumann as well as her distinct expressiveness in the Ravel (although they were not always technically accurate) made for an enjoyable performance overall. Despite her ability in sensitive use of quiet tones, there was a tendency to be excessively loud at times. Thus, while there was a wide range of dynamics, there remained some questions as to the musical connections in these works. (March 31, 2000, Ishihara Hall)