Luther College Chips

World-class musicians present a mix of Japanese and French music

Hirono Sugimoto Borter and Philip Borter have toured together as DuoB since
January of 2009.

Hirono Sugimoto Borter and Philip Borter have toured together as DuoB since January of 2009.

Photo Courtesy of Phillip Borter’s Facebook page

Photo Courtesy of Phillip Borter’s Facebook page

Hirono Sugimoto Borter and Philip Borter have toured together as DuoB since January of 2009.

Gillian Klein, Staff Writer

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The music recital year began with a world-class performance from violinist Hirono Sugimoto Borter and pianist Kyoko Kaise. Luther’s own Assistant Professor of Music Phillip Borter was featured on cello. The performance took place on Friday, Sept. 15 in Jeson-Noble Hall of Music.

All three performers have extensive history with music and have toured the globe.

Hirono Sugimoto Borter has appeared as a soloist with varying professional chamber orchestras. During her career as a musician, Hirono Sugimoto Borter has traveled to seven countries across three continents to perform. Hirono Sugimoto Borter played her most recent performance with DuoB, the ensemble she has performed in with her husband since 2009. DuoB has most recently earned recognition with their participation in the 2017 IBLA Foundation Grand Prize Festival. After her recent recognition, Hirono Sugimoto Borter planned to perform at Luther. According to Hirono Sugimoto Borter, her DuoB performance on campus last fall with Phillip Borter made her more familiar with local venues.

Kaise studied at the Tokyo College of Music and received her postgraduate degree in piano performance in 2008. Upon the completion of her postgraduate degree, Kaise moved to Berlin to continue her studies at the Berlin University of Fine Arts. Kaise received her diploma degree from the University in 2011 and her Artist Diploma in 2015. Kaise is now an ambassador for the town of Izunkokuni alongside her commitment as a jury member for national music competitions in Japan.

Phillip Borter collaborated with Hirono Sugimoto Borter and Kaise to round out the piano trio during the second half of the performance after the first half featured Hirono Sugimoto Borter and Kyoko Kaise as a duet. Phillip Borter began his music career with Break of Reality, a cello ensemble that toured the country performing at festivals, colleges, high schools, and art centers. Phillip Borter completed his Doctoral of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music. Borter has been working at Luther College as the cello professor since the fall of 2016. The Borter family invited Kaise to perform this concert with them.

Photo Courtesy of Kyoko Kaise’s Facebook Page
Kyoko Kaise first began playing piano at age five and now plays around the world.

The opening piece selected for the program was “Sonata for Violin and Piano” written by French composer Claude Debussy. That piece was followed by “Distance de Fee,” a piece written in 1951 by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. The first half of the recital closed with “Haru no Umi” composed by Michio Myagi, a piece originally written for koto and shakuhachi, two traditional Japanese instruments.

The second half of the recital consisted of “Trio for Piano, Violin, and Cello” in A minor by Maurice Ravel, a French composer. The purposeful incoporation of music inspired by both Japanese and French culture made the performance a remarkable experience, according to Kaise.

“Every little thing affects how the music flows and determines how the music floats through the air,” Kaise said.

The trio piece was the focus of the concert, bringing together all three performers and using the unique sounds that each of their instruments offer.

“We picked a trio inspired by a French piece whereas the other two pieces fit the Japanese influence with a bit of French influence,” Hirono Sugimoto Borter said.

The performers also selected pieces that reflected their abilities, and, according to Phillip Borter, all of the pieces were chosen with the audience in mind.

“We were most looking forward to the reaction of the audience, especially with the Japanese piece,” Phillip Borter said, “The trio piece was just absolutely gorgeous, not a piece one plays everyday.”

The three perfromers advised young musicians studying at Luther to take advantage of the musical opportunities that are offered.

“It’s worthwhile for students to take opportunities to perform and connect while studying here,” Phillip Borter said. “The relationships you build here are what sustain you as you grow in your music career.”

The trio is already making plans to reunite and perform for the Luther community again in the future.

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