Seventh Piece: Izumi Kimura

IMC and Triskel Arts Centre have come together to host a weekly sequence of online performance called Piece By Piece featuring leading Irish improvisers, which kicked off on Friday 10th April

Each artist’s input performance will influence the next performance in this musical chain. Piece by piece, artists will create new improvised work, based on the preceding work. Improvising musicians are uniquely skilled at interpretation and spontaneous creation allowing for fresh creation of the highest calibre and a unique 'live art' experience for the Piece By Piece online audience.

The 7th creation in the sequence comes from pianist Izumi Kimura. The Japanese-born, Irish-based pianist has worked with many of the top names in contemporary and improvised music and performed all over the world, and is praised by the Irish Times for her “heroic level of technical fearlessness”. Izumi shared some thoughts with us on how she engaged with the Piece by Piece project and how she's reflecting on the current crisis, ahead of her performance on Friday 22nd May, 20:00 GMT+1.

Q. What does improvisation mean to you?
Trusting that everything happens here and now.

Q. How do you think about engaging with material or ideas from another artist when improvising?
It is about listening, being touched and inspired by another artist’s work, and then bringing those materials to my own space and relating to them as honestly as I can. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that serious, but it has to be honest. There is no room for bullshit, and always open-ended - that’s what I love about improvising.  

I took two small fragments from Paul’s set: the closing melodies, followed by a short improvisation on the opening melody based on Cora’s harmony which he interpreted. His melodic lines are beautifully natural and open. I think they worked like the twist of a möbius strip in my set.
And there is another layer to this as I worked with Cormac Larkin on the visuals. He spent many hours on this, adapting my shaky amateur footage from my 2 and 5 km radius walks, and many emails and phone calls. So although it’s a solo piano set, it turned out to be a collaborative work, which I appreciate, particularly at this time of isolation. 
Q. How do you think the world of music is changing or will change as result of the COVID-19 crisis?
I don’t know. The one thing I feel is that it’ll never go back to the way it was before. The change itself is not good or bad - it’s up to us to make it a positive change. 

I’ve been thinking about it and I thought this today - the best thing about the live music is that we all go into ‘the space’ where anything is possible in the moment. Without this opportunity, right now each of us has to find this in ourselves – it’s not easy but that’s ultimately what we practice for. If each of us can find it alone, when we eventually meet and play music together again, we'll have the sort of deep communication that will bring us to the next level. I’m not just talking about musicians but also audience. In improvised music, audience is such an important part of the creative process. 

So we’ve got a lot to do while doing very little. I’m staying positive. 


Thanks Izumi!

Catch the premiere of Izumi's piece on Friday 22nd May at 20:00hrs GMT+1 by subscribing to IMC's YouTube channel or Triskel's Facebook.

Read more about the Piece by Piece series HERE

Piece by Piece 1 Shane Latimer: Hear Shane's piece HERE, and read his reflections HERE

Piece by Piece 2 Nick Roth & Olesya Zdorovetska: Hear Nick & Olesya's piece HERE, and read their reflections HERE

Piece by Piece 3 Seán Mac Erlaine: Hear Seán's piece HERE, and read his reflections HERE

Piece by Piece 4 Cormac McCarthy: Hear Cormac's piece HERE, and read his reflections HERE

Piece by Piece 5 Cora Venus Lunny: Hear Cora's piece HERE and read her reflections HERE

Piece by Piece 6 Paul Dunlea: Hear Paul's piece HERE and read his reflections HERE

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