Meet Brenda Jones and the Shigeru Kawai

 At our concert on Friday 2nd October 2015 we present a programme performed by the Sonus Piano Quartet.   Tony Recsei interviewed one of the founding members of the group, pianist Brenda Jones about the performers, the piano to be used and the works to be played.

SMS  It is 2 ½ years since we last had the pleasure of organising a performance by the Sonus Piano Quartet.  Can you tell us something about the performers for this year’s concert?  

BJ  The Quartet has been performing together for several years to enthusiastic audiences and is comprised of some of Australia’s leading chamber musicians:  Aiko Goto, violin, Jacqui Cronin, viola, Tim Nankervis, cello, and Brenda Jones, piano.  We are thrilled that Jacqui is expecting the arrival of her second child in October, however, this sadly means that she could not perform with us for this concert.  We are grateful that Nikki Divall, violist from the Australian Chamber Orchestra will join us for your listening enjoyment.

SMS You will be bringing in a special piano that will be used for the concert.  Can you tell us something about it?

BJ   We will perform our concert for the Mozart Society on a handmade Shigeru   SK-EX concert grand. 

SMS  Are there special characteristics about the instrument that the audience may listen for? 

BJ  From the pianist’s viewpoint, the Shigeru Kawai has a stunning, warm tone that is flexibly capable of great strength and delicacy.  Pianists can create vastly imaginative ranges of colour from its roaring, full bass to the ringing pearls of the treble.

SMS  How do these characteristics relate to the works you will be performing?

BJ  The repertoire for our concert includes Mozart and Mendelssohn piano quartets.  In order to play the works of these composers respecting the intent of their writing, the pianist requires an instrument that is capable of great variety and subtlety.

SMS  Are there any special construction features of the piano? 

BJ  The piano is completely handmade by highly skilled Master Piano Artisans (MPAs) in Japan, and only MPAs look after the Shigeru pianos after they leave the factory.  Traditionally piano manufacturing has been extremely conservative with time-honoured materials being used.  In a revolutionary move forward, instead of wood the action parts inside the Shigeru Kawai are made from carbon fibre composite.  Carbon fibre is a material that is extremely strong, rigid and light.  It is used on NASA space missions!  The material is very stable and, unlike wood, differences in atmospheric moisture content do not cause changes in its dimensions. Some misinformation exists that carbon fibre is synonymous with everyday plastic, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Carbon fibre is a robust, durable material that enables piano technicians to regulate the action of the piano with amazing precision and stability.  We believe this is a wonderful example of the contribution that modern technology can make in bringing new life to beautiful works of centuries past. 

 SMS How have you managed to obtain this piano for the concert?

 BJ  The provision of the instrument has been generously sponsored by Kawai Australia.  Special thanks goes to Mr. John Blanch, General Manager, for making this possible.  We are also grateful to Mr. Vahe Sarmazian of Carnegie Pianoforte for his expert technical care of the instrument.