Twelve years after earning her Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, Toko Suzuki returned to Rochester from Japan to offer a piano recital March 26 at Blessed Sacrament Church.
The afternoon program included works by Bach, Ravel and Chopin.
A native of Suita City in Osaka, Japan, Suzuki began taking piano lessons when she was five years old. During her senior year of college in Kobe, Japan, she traveled to Canada to attend the Victoria Music Festival.
“What I found there,” Suzuki said, “was that even classical music could be as exciting as pop music. When you go to a pop music concert, there is a palpable connection between the audience and the artist. I wanted to experience that audience/artist connection with my classical music.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree in music, she came to the U.S. to try to reach that goal.
Suzuki also paints and draws and strives to bring the feelings she has about color and texture into her music.
“I wanted to paint in the air with sound. I knew that was possible because when I attended a concert in Japan given by Nikita Magaloff, it happened.”
Magaloff was playing Le Tombeau de Couperin by Ravel.
At Eastman, Suzuki found that professor Barry Snyder’s approach to building a tonal palette was what she was looking for. She earned her master’s degree in music, and then the Doctor of Music Arts in performance and literature in 2005.
Since then, Suzuki has built a diversified career as a soloist, collaborative pianist, composer, lecturer, instrumental coach, music educator and concert planner. She has performed in various cities in the U.S., Canada, Holland, Thailand and Japan.
Suzuki hopes to return to Rochester to perform again. Her website is