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Marvelous soloist and concertmaster of the Waseda Symphony Orchestra

Ms. Marina Yasuda

A pianist once said that music is a harmony that falls upon us from the heavens. "Those are words that I can truly relate to," said Ms. Yasuda, nodding. She's been playing the violin since she was three years of age. Through this practice, she developed an interest in music therapy. "I wanted to study phenomena such as synesthesia, and so I decided to enter the School of Human Sciences," she stated. When asked if she ever considered attending a college of music, she replied, "Music is a part of my life. It's an integral existence that I cannot part with. But I wanted to meet people interested in other fields as well. I felt I could do that at Waseda." Upon entering the Waseda Symphony Orchestra, she found herself interacting with alumni as well as other students, and expanding her circle of friends outside of the campus grounds. "For some reason, people involved with the orchestra tend to be very individualistic. The more you're around them, the more interesting it gets," she said with a laugh.

"She performed with an exquisitely beautiful sound and tremendous power of expression," exclaimed one of her listeners, praising Ms. Yasuda's solo at a performance in Berlin. The song she had performed was Richard Strauss' tone poem "Ein Heldenleben" (A Heroic Life). Since this song requires a large-scale group of over 100 members in order to perform, it had very rarely ever been performed inside or outside of Japan before. As a concertmaster and a soloist, just how was she to go about this challenge? Since resources were scarce, the most essential thing would be her creativity. "What I was always aware of was what you might call expression. I didn't want to just blindly follow the score. I wanted to express my feelings for the song," she said. After the performance, the entire hall rang with voices shouting, "Bravo!" Ms. Yasuda commented on the reaction, saying, "I really felt a response. It made me extremely happy."

Her violin has come to be a precious companion that she describes as "a friend that will never betray me." According to her, "The more you practice, the better you sound. But if you slack off, then you get the opposite result, which is somewhat frightening." After she returned from Europe, she went on to perform at the commencement and entrance ceremonies. She is currently undergoing strenuous practice for performances that will be held next month. "Isn't it exactly this type of busyness and pressure that makes Waseda what it is?" asked Ms. Yasuda, smiling. "I'm looking forward to next year, when I get to play the school song dressed in a graduate student regulation hakama (divided skirt), following the example of the upperclassmen," she said with a smile, showing off a glimpse of her Waseda spirit.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Ms. Marina Yasuda

Ms. Yasuda was born in Shizuoka prefecture in 1987, and grew up in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture. She graduated from Tsuchiura Nihon University High School, and is currently a 4th year student of the School of Human Sciences and enrolled in Professor Miho Saito's seminar on the science of color recognition. Ms. Yasuda participated in the 12th European tour held from February to March 2009. Her performance at the Berlin Philharmonic in Saal received praise from first concertmaster Daniel Stabrawa. Her hobbies include tennis, swimming, watching soccer, and listening to music. Some of her recent favorites are Remioromen and Thelma Aoyama.