Playing music around the world can make for an exciting but lonely and nomadic existence. It can be made easier, however, when the group you perform with is comprised of your siblings.
The Furuya Sisters, a classical concert trio, will be on stage tonight (Friday) at the South Salem Presbyterian Church. The sisters, Sakiko, Mimi and Harumi, each a child prodigy and Juilliard graduate, have been performing together since childhood and agreed that being onstage as a group has become almost second nature.
“It’s great to play the masterpieces that we all love together and express our feelings in one voice,” said Sakiko.
Having played together for so long, the sisters are in synch musically, but Sakiko said they are each able to express themselves individually. Harumi, though, noted that having that level of comfort does have its drawbacks.
“The downside…of performing with sisters is that because ensemble comes easy, we don’t rehearse as much as we should,” she said.
Harumi began playing the violin at two years old. Sakiko also took up the violin at a young age before switching to piano at seven so she could accompany her sister. Mimi began with the violin, but switched to piano before eventually settling on the cello, an instrument that she said felt natural to her, at seven years old.
While each child playing a different instrument is uncommon and placed a burden on their parents, their mother sacrificed to get them to lessons in separate locations.
“She always gave us such support without being pushy at all,” Sakiko said. “Without her, all this would not have been possible.”
It also wouldn’t have been possible without her giving them the gift of loving classical music. Sakiko recalled their mother listened to classical recordings such as Mendelssohn’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and regularly had music playing in the background while they were growing up.
Now, in a time where a vast array of musical genres are accessible online, they believe that classical music remains the easiest for people of all ages and nationalities to understand.
“It stimulates the mind and soothes the soul, and it has an overall therapeutic effect,” Sakiko said.
For Friday night’s concert, the sisters will be performing two compositions by well-known composers: Tchaikovsky’s Trio in A Minor and Mozart’s Trio in E Major.
Sakiko said she felt it was appropriate to play Tchaikovsky in New York because of the composer’s popularity in America during his first performance at Carnegie Hall. Mimi explained that the Mozart piece was chosen because it complements the Tchaikovsky composition but is also unique.
Although they will not be performing any of their own compositions during their South Salem engagement, they have ventured into writing their own music. Heavily influenced by Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Chopin and Bach, Mimi said she usually begins her compositions developing a melody and harmony before fleshing out the orchestration.
“I…try to compose a beautiful piece that makes sense, [is] simple and unpretentious, that is tonal and easy on anybody’s ears,” she said.
The Furuya Sisters concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $30, with student discounts available. South Salem Presbyterian Church is located at 111 Spring St.
For more information, visit www.furuyasisters.com.