Home #Hwoodtimes The Contained Virtuosity of Mao Fujita at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Contained Virtuosity of Mao Fujita at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Young Pianist Taking On The Classical Composers

Playing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Domingo Hindoyan, the Japanese pianist’s insulated musicality brings Rachmaninoff back to life with a determined passion.

By John Lavitt

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 03-12-2024

The musical world has many kinds of genius, and the beholders of such gifts express themselves in various ways. While some are expressively interactive, others remain incredibly contained within themselves. Indeed, these musicians become so enraptured by a musical composition captured on their instrument that they only interact with the intensity of the creation. As a young artist, twenty-five-year-old Mao Fujita is a genius of the latter type.

When you first see the young pianist take the stage, it is hard to believe that he is even in his twenties. He looks like a teenager who has accidentally found his way onto the stage. When not sitting at the piano, he is introverted and a bit awkward. Everything shifts when he sits down and faces a majestic Steinway piano. Now, behold a man in his actual comfort zone.

At the Walt Disney Concert Hall, as Mao Fujita took on the challenge of Serge Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18, he could have been alone in a studio playing along with a recorded track. Although he was on the stage at one of the grandest venues in the United States, accompanied by the LA Phil, expertly conducted by Domingo Hindoyan, it did not seem to affect the pianist. The insulation of his genius, the contained brilliance of his fingers on the keys, and the precise passion of his execution of such a challenging concerto were what truly mattered.

However, it is essential to understand that Mao Fujita’s approach to his artistry does not detract from the experience or limit the emotional resonance of the playing. The intensity of his musicality and the passionate precision of his playing are contagious, bringing out the best in the LA Phil. Following his lead, Domingo Hindoyan, the Venezuelan violinist now the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s Chief Conductor, relayed the artist’s passion and intensity to the musicians. Inspired by Fujita’s excellence, they brought the complexity of Rachmaninoff’s diverse and lyrical piece to fruition. Without question, Fujita and the LA Phil brought out the best in each other.

Mao Fujita In His Ultimate Comfort Zone

Born in Tokyo, Fujita captured the attention of the international jury community when he took the First Prize at the renowned Concours International de Piano Clara Haskil in Switzerland in 2017. In October 2022, his debut album was an ambitious studio recording of Mozart’s complete piano sonatas. Upon its release, the precision of Fujita’s vivid interpretations was celebrated. As a true prodigy, Mao Fujita performed the entire piece from memory. Watching his whole body move with the flow of the music felt like a perfect extension of his soul.

Once again, with Mao Fujita’s presence and performance, the Los Angeles Philharmonic delivers an inspired musical gift to the cultural offerings of Los Angeles. At the Walt Disney Concert Hall, from the performances of the LA Phil to the Colburn Celebrity Recitals, the 2024 season presents a series of inspired shows that do justice to the beautiful venue. Although Mao Fujita might look like a little kid, he played like a master, bringing Rachmaninoff back to life.