Tonoya Naka tells us about his approach to music and why he finds it so difficult to answer what music is for him
Music was my existence right from the very start. I was spending all day listening to music, then composing all day and playing the piano. I felt that I had no time left to even eat with my family or to go and play with other kids. I thought that the time without music was the time wasted. Music is everything to me, it is a deep thought, sublime ritual, beautiful art, great nature, my own conversations with God. I think that through all this I could understand its value. Music can hurt someone but hopefully it can save someone too. And it can represent beauty, ugliness, kindness and severity, strength and weakness: this is all music. That's why once again I think a simple question like “what is music to you” is a very difficult question. I could compare it with the question: what is a human being? So, what is a human being? It's a very difficult question. Only after thousand years of long life, you might attempt to answer it. Very disappointing that we live much less.
Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?
Music is past, the future is now. I believe that the music is the result of experience of all the events and all these events can be imagined through music.
The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?
No, I am not worried about the future. There are so many good musicians who continue the tradition.
What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century?
I was fascinated by the idea that Mendelssohn re-discovered Bach. I think he introduced the music that had been already buried. Now we have the current standard classical music repertoire. In classical music history in the past 100 years after Schoenberg many composers and performers around the world conducted plenty of experiments, but it's important to search for one own style. However, through the experiment and a wide variety of music, all-new music has been emerging. I hope that such new music will be part of the current standard repertoire 100 years later.
Tell me about your creative process.
I frequently listen to the hearts and voices of people around the world and hear the things. Then I follow my inner voice and the voice of the people to form my music.
What do you advice young people discovering classical music for themselves?
Young people today have incredible listening possibilities to listen to lots of music on YouTube and in the Web. It is very good, but it requires good search and selection.