Performance Thursday, November 10, 2011 | 8 PM

Nobuyuki Tsujii

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
He was a sensation at the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition in Fort Worth, Texas—its first Japanese-born Gold Medalist. Be among the first to hear Nobuyuji Tsujii him in recital on the Carnegie Hall stage.


  • Nobuyuki Tsujii, Piano
    Gold Medalist, Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
    New York Recital Debut


  • MUSTO Improvisation and Fugue
  • BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2, "The Tempest"
  • LISZT "Un sospiro" from Trois études de concert, No. 3
  • LISZT Rigoletto, Concert Paraphrase for Piano
  • MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition

  • Encores:
  • FOSTER "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair" (arr. Tsujii)
  • CHOPIN Prelude in D-flat Major, Op. 28, No. 15
  • NOBOYUKI TSUJII Elegy for the Victims of the Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011


  • Nobuyuki Tsujii

    Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii-affectionately referred to as "Nobu" by his friends and fans-captured the hearts and imaginations of music lovers throughout the world with his gold medal-winning performances at the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009.

    Acclaimed for his heartfelt and inspiring performances, Nobu enchants audiences with his expressive lyricism and astonishing technique. In high demand by presenters and orchestras, he has performed sold-out concerts around the world and has catapulted to rock-star fame in Japan.  Since 2009, Nobu has made over 100 recital and concerto appearances in North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Highlights of the 2011-2012 season include his solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall, London debut with Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and a return engagement with the BBC Philharmonic at The Bridgewater Hall.

    The harmonia mundi label released a CD of Nobu's Van Cliburn Competition performances, which was named "Critic's Choice" by Record Geijutsu, Japan's leading classical music magazine. Another disc, an all-Chopin recording of his competition performances, was released in July 2010. Additionally, Nobu's six bestselling records on the Avex label include recordings with the BBC Philharmonic and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, both conducted by Maestro Yutaka Sado. A documentary detailing his achievement at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition aired across Japan on NHK; Nobu is also featured in Peter Rosen's award-winning documentary of the 2009 competition, A Surprise in Texas.

    Blind since birth, Nobu believes that "there are no barriers in the field of music." His philosophy was first affirmed at the age of seven when he was named first-prize winner at the All Japan Blind Students Music Competition. At the age of 12, he made his recital debut at Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Four years later in 2005, Nobu earned the Critics' Award at the 15th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.

    Nobu recently graduated from Ueno Gakuen University, studying under the guidance of Masahiro Kawakami, Yukio Yokoyama, and Kyoko Tabe.

    More Info


Liszt's Paganini Etude No. 3, "La Campanella"
Nobuyuki Tsujii, Piano
Harmonia Mundi
Liszt's Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke, S 514 "Mephisto Waltz no 1"
Nobuyuki Tsujii, Piano
Challenge Classics

At a Glance

JOHN MUSTO  Improvisation and Fugue

John Musto’s Improvisation and Fugue draws inspiration from the blues. In place of the traditional prelude, the improvisation develops a few measures of material over four sections that are each successively faster, while the fugue subject weaves its way through a dense thicket of independent musical lines.

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2, “The Tempest”

Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata is one of the first works to represent what the composer himself described as a new path; it marks the beginning of his “heroic” period. The striking first theme juxtaposes two contradictory musical ideas, while the restless second motif justifies the work’s stormy nickname.

FRANZ LISZT  “Un sospiro” from Trois études de concert, No. 3; Rigoletto, Concert Paraphrase for Piano

Franz Liszt—one of the great 19th-century virtuoso composers—wrote etudes and operatic paraphrases for his own concerts. The Three Concert Etudes are showpieces that demonstrate specific techniques: “Un sospiro” focuses on arpeggios and hand-crossings. The operatic paraphrase on Rigoletto capitalizes on beloved tunes that are re-dressed in pianistic bravado.

MODEST MUSSORGSKY  Pictures at an Exhibition

Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition was inspired by an actual show of artwork by Viktor Hartmann. Each of the movements depicts a specific painting or drawing; they are linked together by a promenade theme that indicates the composer’s walk through the gallery.

Program Notes