Music at St. Paul’s concert to feature Boca String Quartet
April 15, 2002
Preparing to perform at St. Paul’s on Sunday, April 21, are (left to right) Cornelia Bode, cello; Laurice Campbell Buxton, viola; Xin Chen, violin; Yoko Sata Kothari, piano; and Le Wei Yen, violin.
The next concert in the Music at St. Paul’s series will be presented on Sunday, April 21, at 4 p.m. Featured will be the Boca String Quartet, with guest pianist, Yoko Sata Kothari, presenting: String Quartet in F Major, Opus 96 (“The American”) by Antonin Dvorak; Piano Quintet in F Minor, Opus 34 by Johannes Brahms. The works are two of the most famous in the entire chamber music literature.
A reception will be held following the concert in the church’s parish hall. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is located in Delray Beach at 188 S. Swinton Ave., one and one half blocks south of Atlantic Avenue. There is a requested donation of $10 at the door for adults; $5 for students. The doors will open at 3:30 p.m.
Performing in China was a high note in pianist’s career
By Linda Haase Palm Beach Post Staff Writer October 3, 2001
For Yoko Sata Kothari, playing the piano is like breathing. It fuels her life.
Kothari, a North Palm Beach resident, recently returned from performing in China with a violinist, her partner in the Lotus Duo.
“I was there for a week. We played for dignitaries, we were interviewed by TV stations. I wanted to expose new music to those people. I think they really enjoyed the concert. And for me, being invited to go to China was a big deal. It was a very good experience for me to be able to perform there. China is a hot place for classical musicians,” she said.
Kothari, who has won numerous competitions, including the Northern Japan Classical Piano Competition when she was 8, has been playing the piano since she was 4.
“Everybody is cut out for something…some can run fast, some can draw real well. This is what I was cut out to do” said Kothari, who also captured second place in the Bartok-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev International Piano Competition. She also was given the Kathleen McGowan Piano Scholarship Award by the Guild for International Piano Competitions last spring.
“Instead of seeing myself as purely a performer, I am, more importantly, one who needs to perform music in order to express myself and my emotions as a spiritual manifestation…I would also like to show my audience how much music can enrich their lives,” she wrote in an application for the Simone Belsky Music Award Competition.
Kothari, who was born and raised in Tokyo, took her piano lessons seriously, even when she was little. But there was one point, when she was 22, that she thought she wanted to try something else. So she worked for an airline for two years, but realized her heart belonged to the piano.
“Things happen for a reason. I think I needed that time to think. I realized that I wanted to play the piano,” she said.
When she’s on stage, she blocks out all the surrounding sounds.
“I close my eyes and all I hear is the sound of music. I try to create that feeling so I don’t hear anything else. When I’m playing, I go with the music. I’m a storyteller when I get on stage. If the music is sad, I try to feel that. I want the audience to feel what I feel. It’s just like talking to them. I want them to feel the music,” said Kothari, who got her bachelor’s degree in performing arts from Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo.
Kothari, who has been a guest on WXEL-FM 90.7, also teaches piano and performs with the Boca String Quartet. She is working on a CD, Piano works of J.S. Bach, Beethoven & Liszt.
“I’m like a music ambassador. I want to spread the word,” she said.
How do you relax before a competition?
“Someone told me to play for yourself. I tell myself that I don’t need to play to impress anyone. If you play with what’s within yourself, you won’t have any regrets. You always have to fight with the pressure. If you tell yourself you really have to play well, it will go the other way. I always tell myself even if I don’t win anything I won’t lose anything. I was told, don’t let the competition use you, use the competition to let yourself grow, you’ll just get better.”
What are your hobbies?
“My husband doesn’t think I have any life…this is really all I do. People ask me when I am going to have a baby, but this is my baby. I’m up to 2 a.m. practicing a lot of nights but you need a commitment and dedication…
What’s the one thing you’d like to do?
“Music is self-satisfaction. Whether you are playing in your living room or Carnegie Hall, you should be happy because you do it for yourself.”
The Guild for International Piano Competitions has awarded its first three scholarships. Yoko Sata Kothari of Palm Beach Gardens received the “Kathleen McGowan Thousand Dollar Key.” Carl DiCasoli of Palm Beach Gardens received the “Lillian Abraham Thousand Dollar Key.” Gregg Taylor of Miami received the “Annette Megaro Thousand Dollar Key.”
The three namesakes are members of the guild.
The amount of each grant is decided by guild master pianist-in-residence Vladimir Bakk of West Palm Beach. Each scholarship entitles the recipient to 10 hours of coaching by Bakk.
“The financial value of the grant is $1,000, but its artistic value is priceless and could be life-altering,” guild president John Bryan said.
Yoko Kothari, a graduate of Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo and the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, finished in second place at the Bartok-Kabovevsky-Prokofiev International Piano Competition in Radford, Va.
Kothari won for her interpretations of Bela Bartok’s Out of Doors and Dimitri Kabalevsky’s Sonata No.1, Opus 6.
Kothari, a native of Tokyo, began piano studies at age four and piano competition when she was eight.
She has won top honors at the Northern Japan Classical Piano Competition and the Tokyo Youth Compositional Competition.
In Boca Raton, Kothari studied under the direction of Roberta Rust and Phillip Evans at the Harid Conservatory. She frequently performs in Palm Beach Count and teaches at her private studio in North Palm Beach.
She’s entered piano competitions before, but last weekend at the Bartok-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev International Piano Competition in Radford, Va., Yoko Sata Kothari did it her way.
"I was more relaxed. I was myself, I played for myself," said Kothari, who lives in Lake Park. "I didn’t play for the judges. I said whatever happens, happens; if they don’t like me, that’s OK."
Her interpretations of Bela Bartok’s Out of Doors and Dimitri Kablevsky’s Sonata No. 1, Opus 6, nevertheless, got the judges’ attention. She came home with second place and a $1,200 prize.
Yoko, who was born in Tokyo and studied at the Harid Conservatory, plays often in Palm Beach County. She and her husband, Dilip Kothari, a native of India and a classical guitarist, teach music at D&D Studios in lake Park. But she has bigger plans – a CD out this summer and a competition in New York in October.
Delray Beach – Concert pianist Yoko Sata Kothari will present a recital at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Delray Beach, on Sunday, Sept. 20, at 4 p.m. She will perform the following program:
J.S. Bach-Toccata in G Major; Schubert-Sonata in A, Op. 120; Schumann-Abbeg Variations, op.1; Bartok-Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm; Liszt-La Camponella.
Born in Tokyo, Kothari began piano studies at the age of four. At the age of eight, she became a winner of the Northern Japan Classical Piano Competition and continued to win several piano competitions throughout Japan. Kothari has also been recognized for her compositions and was a finalist of the Tokyo Youth Compositional Competition.
She graduated from the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo with a bachelor’s degree in performing arts. Her teachers included Takako Maeda, Miwako Tsukada and Dr. Roberta Rust at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton.
Kothari’s career as a pianist outside the United States includes numerous performances in Japan and concerts in India.
Since moving to Florida, Kothari performs regularly throughout South Florida and has been featured several times on WXEL FM – 90.7.
In addition to her performing career, Kothari teaches at her private studio in North Palm Beach.
Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church is located at 188 South Swinton Ave., in Delray Beach, 15 blocks south of Atlantic Ave.
There is a requested donation of $10 at the door, $5 for students with I.D. The doors will open at 3:30 p.m. There is ample parking. For information, call (561) 278-6003.