Violinist from Okinawa returns to her hometown to perform

Violinist from Okinawa returns to her hometown to perform

October 8, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo
Yoko Takaesu

Ryoko Berkes (maiden name Sunagawa), 47, originally from Naha is a violinist who is a part of a Hungarian orchestra.

Classical music is popular in Hungary, which is located in Eastern Europe. According to a representative of the Friends of Canon Club, which is familiar with classical music, it is rare to see a person originally from Okinawa become a member of a European orchestra.

Ryoko arrived in Okinawa with about 80 of the orchestra members from the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra.

On October 19, the orchestra will be having a joint concert at Ryoko’s alma mater, Naha Municipal Matsushima Junior High School. On October 20 from 4 p.m., the orchestra will be performing at the Sawafuji Mirai Hall in Nishihara.

Ryoko started playing the violin around age six. Her mother was a piano teacher, so she spent a lot of time growing up with music since she was young.

She graduated from Matsushima Junior High School and the Music Track of the Department of Art at Okinawa Prefecture Kaiho Senior High School.

After trying for three years, she entered the Musashino Academia Musicae.

In 1996 while she was still attending school, her performance was appraised by a Hungarian violinist.

After graduation, she studied abroad in Hungary where she learned techniques and modes of expression.

She later married the orchestra’s conductor, Kálmán Berkes. She relocated from Japan to the city of Győr in Hungary about seven years ago. She is now an orchestra member of the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra.

Győr Philharmonic prides itself for being 125-years-old.

Ryoko spoke about what it is like to be a part of the orchestra.

She said, “It’s extremely fulfilling to have an opportunity to perform with people who are experienced.”
Relatives and people interested in classical music formed a planning committee, which made her first performance in Okinawa possible.

Three programs, including Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” will be performed.

Ryoko looks forward to the performance.

She said, “I was thinking of how wonderful it would be if I could one day perform in my hometown.”

In preparation for the joint concert at Matsushima, Ryoko sends a shout-out to the younger generations who hope to pursue a path in music.

She said, “You’re going to need the perseverance to keep trying until you can do it. Try to ‘be passionate, but calm’ during practice.”

For those interested in purchasing tickets, please call Friends of Canon Club’s Yasuko Arakaki at 090-5733-4071. Tickets can also be purchased at the Shima Piano Center and Fukuhara Musical Instruments.

(English translation by T&CT and Chelsea Ashimine)

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