Why is this woman shaking?

Posted Wednesday, May. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A good ten minutes after the performance, Sayuri Sakata was still trembling.

“I have shaking knees, still,” she said backstage at Bass Hall.

Why? Because she’s a mother.

Her 19-year-old son, Tomoki, the youngest competitor in the Cliburn field, had conquered his own nerves to deliver a fine recital in the preliminary round. Her mother, however, said she could not offer an appraisal.

“I’m not sure about that because I’m too tense,” she said. “At first I noticed he was very nervous. Gradually I think he relaxed. I think he could feel the audience supporting him.”

Tomoki conceded that he was nervous, too, but settled in on stage in the first movement of his opening piece, a Beethoven sonata. His performance of Liszt was the strongest part of his recital, no coincidence, perhaps.

“He’s one of my favorite composers,” Sakata said.

The Hungarian’s music was dark and dramatic, and the young artist seemed to capture those feelings well.

“Are you dark and dramatic?” he was asked backstage.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve never analyzed myself. I just like the music. I just try to tell the people about the music and that’s it.”

Tim Madigan, 817-390-7544 Twitter: @tsmadigan

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