By Nicholas Turner
The North American Post
The Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church hosted violinist Maya Iwabuchi and pianist Jennifer Choe last Saturday in a benefit concert for the Blaine Memorial Building Capital Campaign. The world-famous duo played four songs for 250 audience members. A modest crowd, especially compared to the concert halls in which the pair are used to performing, but this one included Iwabuchi’s family. Her brother and parents, including Japanese pastor Hiroyasu Iwabuchi, had come to watch her play.
“There was a lot of support from my parent’s community for what I did,” Iwabuchi said after the concert. “My parents started me on the violin.”
Iwabuchi, who is the leader of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and a faculty member of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, has performed in an impressive number of the world’s most famous concert halls and venues. Choe, a prize-winning pianist from Korea, has a comparable repertoire of experience and regularly plays with members of the Seattle Symphony. At the Blaine Memorial Church, they played for a smaller, more intimate crowd.
“I always enjoy playing in a smaller space, and with the audience quite close by,” Iwabuchi said, “it’s almost like an extended dinner party.”
Iwabuchi and Choe, both of whom have enjoyed glittering careers both in the states and abroad, began cultivating their talent at strikingly young ages: Iwabuchi started learning how to play the piano when she was two years old while Choe began her musical studies at three.
“Music is universal. It touches everything,” Iwabuchi said. “It’s a real source of discipline for young people; listening to music that’s not just three minutes long and easy to handle and sing along, but to music that you really have to study.”