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Yukawa-Chan Duo Interview

Posted on 06 March 2008. © Copyright 2004-2020 Composition:Today

C:T talks to Cassie Yukawa of the Yukawa-Chan Duo, who play a programme of 20th and 21st Century music at Carnegie Hall this March 20.

Yukawa-Chan Duo
Tell us something about your background.

We first met each other on the music festival circuit - local competitions on the outskirts of London & in Surrey, where our families would camp on opposite sides of the church hall and await the results... The top two prizes were always alternating BETWEEN US!! So our rivalry became a massive driving force, which lasted for many years in the the form of a competitive and inspiring exchange, solely through our childhood competition performances!

Tell us about the duo, how it was formed, it's raison d'etre.

Rosey approached me [Cassie] a short while after we had both graduated from the Royal College of Music. Naturally, I was deeply suspicious as to why this girl who had been my ARCH RIVAL suddenly approached to play with me!!! Bursting with curiosity, I simply had to find out what is was all about.. and the moment we played together, there was a massive, undeniable connection: especially with our sense of rubato and the way our phrasing theaded together. It was a huge shock an ecstatic revelation - I vividly remember us both shrieking with excitement.... The potent dynamic between us completely transformed whilst playing Rachmaninov. And so, an unexpected adventure was born.....!!!

Do you focus on playing specific types of music?

More than being drawn to particular periods in time, or genres of composition, we're drawn to music that has a distinct sense of flavor. We are constantly searching for works that create vivid sensations of taste, almost like the sensory blend of experiencing an exquisite meal. Nothing is more exhilarating than glimpsing a sense that something is reaching to be understood from a pattern of black and white dots.

How do you go about programming your concerts?

Each time is very different, but there is always a search for balance and variety. Rather than basing our choices on explicit themes, it's rather a question of putting a puzzle together which can sometimes be lead by the way energy travels through and between the works.

Do you commission new work yourself?

We've had the unbelievable fortune to have been approached by composers from the very beginning of our Duo partnership. This took place at the South Bank Centre, presented by the Park Lane Group: an amazing organisation that showcases young artists performing contemporary works. It was the planting of a seed which has grown through our dialogue with composers, which is such a privilege and an excitement as we find ourselves constantly branching in different directions. We are fascinated with the process of composition, and wherever it may be helpful, be part of the cooking process..

What interests you in a piece of new music. What turns you off?

A score has to ignite our imagination, surprise us in some way......! I guess we often follow our instinctive responses to a piece of music. However, this may sometimes be as simple as the way the score lies under the hand or the structural ideas of the way ideas are hung together in time, the clarity of dialogue between the 2 pianos, or even the character of a single chord could be the starting point of a love affair with a piece of music..

Tell us about your current projects

We have the idea of facilitating a situation which invites people to respond to the interaction of different personalities, be it a composer, dancer, graphic designer, scientist or cake maker... I think we're deeply drawn to a process that shifts ones perception beyond a comfort zone, and to trust the movement of stepping into the unknown. Which is at the core of why we have so much fun playing together as a Duo. Not only to explore in new ways, or the utter thrill of performing together, but the act of sharing the journey brings a much clearer focus to what really communicates to each other, and by extension, we hope the audience too....! We're always experimenting with new concert programs and now bursting to perform on the 20th March at Carnegie Hall, where we will perform a menu of works that we LOVE to perform, and perhaps even surprise a few taste buds.....!??!?

How can people find out more about you?

Please visit:

Interview by Composition:Today © Copyright 2004-2020

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