© Eiko Tsukamoto
Born in 1986 in Kagoshima, Japan, Eiko Tsukamoto (塚本 瑛子) began to play the piano at the age of five. Her first compositional attempts also date from this time. As a young pianist, Tsukamoto mainly practiced a classical repertoire until Toshio Hosokawa, her composition teacher, introduced her to contemporary music. After finishing highschool, Tsukamoto studied philosophy instead of music. Then, in 2009, she moved to Cologne where she is currently attending the University of Music. Her knowledge of the German language, as well as her interest in German philosophy, particularly Wittgenstein, facilitated her acclimatization. In addition to studying at Europe's largest school of music, Tsukamoto also appreciates the diversity of the local music scene where many ensembles and venues offer performance opportunities to young composers.
The orchestral piece In einem Augenblick (“In an instant”), composed in 2011 as a commission for the 25th anniversary of the Cologne Philharmonic, certainly marks a highlight in Tsukamoto’s career. Performed by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and conductor Sir Roger Norrington, the piece premiered as part of a program celebrating the works of composers Mozart, Schubert, and Britten written at the age of 25. Indeed, Tsukamoto did not need to fear any comparison with her “peers” from earlier ages. Following Tsukamoto’s philosophy that composing means “representing how time goes by in a new way”, In einem Augenblick reflects the importance of moments. With this composition, Tsukamoto tries to provide a special experience: “a sequence of points, that is, several moments that converge into a single moment – which, in turn, becomes more than the sum of its parts.”
“Nichtcomponiertes im Raum” for flute, clarinet, French horn, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass and percussion
© Inspiration Eiko Tsukamoto
“The title Nichtcomponiertes im Raum, named after a painting by Paul Klee, was already on my mind before I wrote the very first note. Of course the painting itself was impressive, but rather than that I was inspired by the fact that Klee titled this very constructive picture Nichtcomponiertes im Raum (not-composed in the space), which seemed to me at first sight paradoxical. Each element as well as the way of putting it together allows viewers ambiguous perspective, which results in an undefined space. Here Klee tries to give rise to “Nichtcomponiertes” by composing; he tries to realize an undefined space by defining the space. In this sense, this painting is a composition about composition. In an analogous way, composing this piece was for me addressing the question of what composing is. I was a composer and at the same time an observer of myself as a composer. As I wrote, observing and composing merged together and meta-composing dissolved. Finally all the notes have been fixed. Now I am left with the question, “What is composing?””