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Nobuyuki Fever Hits Japan


by Jerome Weeks 19 Nov 2009

You may have already gotten a little fuzzy on just who Nobuyuki Tsujii is. The name’s a mouthful for Westerners. But perhaps “Nobu” rings a bell. Classical music fans in Japan have certainly not forgotten how the 21-year-old blind pianist tied for the gold medal at the Cliburn Competition in June (he was one of […]

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You may have already gotten a little fuzzy on just who Nobuyuki Tsujii is. The name’s a mouthful for Westerners.

But perhaps “Nobu” rings a bell. Classical music fans in Japan have certainly not forgotten how the 21-year-old blind pianist tied for the gold medal at the Cliburn Competition in June (he was one of several blind pianists there and, actually, Tsujii was back in Fort Worth in September to play at Bass Hall).

But in his native country, according to Time magazine, Nobu is enjoying a Van Cliburn-like “mega-stardom” at the moment. Normally reserved Japanese concert audiences hit their feet or burst into tears.

The sales of his first album debut, together with his second album and a live DVD, have sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and the interview requests flooded in. Tsujii, the first Japanese winner of the competition, says he rarely has time to go to his school now, or to meet friends. “The medal is a bit of a burden,” he admits, “But I enjoy playing in front of people, so I try to give a good performance every time.”

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