jun iwasaki tackles 10 questions

it goes without saying: the classical beaver is a huge jun iwasaki fan.  he’s the master of concerts, for peet’s sake!  much thanks to the brilliant mr. iwasaki for answering these humble queries.  thanks also to photographer michael schmitt who snapped the concertmaster’s pic –y’all better believe the beaver will be checking out mr. schmitt’s website to see if this image is available as a life-size poster.  [sigh]

exactly what does a concertmaster do?
The concertmaster has many roles, from tuning the orchestra and taking prominent concertmaster solos within pieces.  But most importantly, he or she is the link between the orchestra and the conductor.

you joined the band in 2007 – what changes have you seen over the years?

Along with many new additions to our orchestra, we have grown immensely under Carlos Kalmar’s leadership and I believe we are playing at a very high level.  I look forward to the future and seeing what else we can achieve.

hey, i happened to notice a photo of you on murata’s wall – if you had to pick your favorite sushi, what would it be?

That’s easy.  Uni (sea urchin) is my favorite.  Of course, it has to be fresh otherwise it can taste bitter.

okay, next time i’m there, uni it is.  can you name 3 works that feature some of the juiciest solo parts for concertmaster?

Juiciest in my opinion is Ein Heldenleben by Richard Strauss.  Other prominent solos include Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov, and one of my favorites, the Missa Solemnis by Beethoven.

you studied at the cleveland institute of music – what do you miss most about my hometown?

Besides missing all my friends and colleagues in Cleveland, I miss being able to walk to Severance Hall and seeing/listening to one of the finest orchestras in the world.  It was such a great learning experience for me to be able to hear the Cleveland Orchestra on a weekly basis.

too bad most clevelanders don’t know what they’ve got.  anywho, when the oregon symphony’s amazing 2010/11 concert series was unveiled, what shows were you most excited about?

There were many things that jumped out at me.  Of course the Carnegie Hall trip stood out as a highlight and shows the community that we are ready to take the big stage.  Some others included playing with Yo-Yo Ma, Hilary Hahn, and Emanuel Ax.

i read that your violin was made in 1695 – ever let it out of your sight?

I try not to.  Sometimes I have to, like when I go out.  But I always leave it in a very safe place that I trust.  When I travel, it’s always with me.

if i bought you a drink, what would you order?

I’m very simple.  Grey Goose on the rocks with a lime.

coming right up!  are you stoked by any non-classical music?

Yes.  I listen to all different genres of music.  I can’t pick one that I like most.

very diplomatic of you.  so, what sets the oregon symphony apart from other orchestras?

I believe the Oregon Symphony is different from many other orchestras in that we all listen to each other on stage.  This is something that we have been praised for by many soloists and guest conductors.  It’s not easy, but I think we, as a group, feel that in order to perform well, listening to and watching each other is the most important thing to achieve our shared goal of producing enjoyable music.

“enjoyable” is an understatement!  thanks for all the great responses.  i know you’ve already tackled 10 questions, but could i trouble you with just one more?  well, you see… the classical beaver was wondering if, you know, it being february 14th and all, if… er, well… jun, will you be my valentine this year?  yeah, i know, you’re a happily married guy and i’m a nocturnal, semi-aquatic rodent… but, well, i don’t know… just bro to beaver, no commitment or anything – it’s really just a silly title without any legal binding.  okay, holla back & lmk (by 11:59pm, so it’s official and all).


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