Mitsuko Uchida: I play 55 times a year, never more

Mitsuko Uchida: I play 55 times a year, never more


norman lebrecht

December 05, 2018

From a revealing 70th birthday interview with the gently persistent Fiona Maddocks:

‘I am not an obsessive performer. My absolute maximum number of concerts is 55 a year. That’s tiny compared to most, who play at least 100, even as many as 140. That’s madness for me. I couldn’t handle it. I remember Elena Bashkirova, Daniel Barenboim’s wife, saying that for Daniel, a day without a concert is punishment. For me, a day without a concert means I can breathe freely.’

The clock on the table has moved past the allotted hour. We speed up. Can she enjoy concerts?

‘Yes, absolutely. And I can listen to music too, without feeling under pressure that I ought to be working.’

Read on here.


  • Been Here Before says:

    A wonderful woman and a pianist! Last night I went to hear her play Schubert’s sonatas D. 784, D. 840 and D. 959 at the Southbank Centre. Always humble and polite, Uchida is utterly dedicated to her music. One can sense her words ring true when she declares in the interview that she always remains a student of great music.

    I wish her a happy birthday and many more wonderful concerts, like the one last night and another one that I attended in September, when she performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 with Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Mike Schachter says:

    Heard her last night playing Schubert, culminating in D.959. You could see the physical, mental and emotional impact that had. She is, a one would expect, an extremely sensible person as well as a great musician.

  • Andrew Powell says:

    Unclear how Decca or Mitsuko can make money when Google’s YouTube is giving away her work.

  • Jonathan Dunsby says:

    ha – for years the London Proms has prided itself on secrecy of programming. Orchestras encouraged not to announced their gigs before the official Proms details are out. And here is Ms O. announcing her Diabelli for 2020

  • RW2013 says:

    Will Elena be punished tonight because DB doesn’t have a concert?

  • Jonathan Dunsby says:

    ==Google’s YouTube is giving away her work.

    I heard that Pinchas Zukerman occasionally moans openly how many of his performances are there in the public domain. But what is he (and his people) to do ?

  • Alan says:

    Much as I admire her playing I am always a little disappointed when Ms Uchida fails to mention how much time she spent in Scotland playing with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra early in her career.
    It would be nice to see her visit the City out with the Edinburgh International Festival.

  • Robert Groen says:

    The first time I heard Uchida in the Mozart sonatas I was in heaven and wanted her with me.