Monday, August 28, 2023


Kotaro Nagano, piano

Wesley Music Centre, Forrest 27 August


Reviewed by Len Power


Kotaro Nagano has performed in cities across Japan as well as in Europe, Canada and Australia. He was the First Prize Winner and the People’s Choice prize winner of the second Australian International Chopin Piano Competition 2014. He has returned to Canberra many times since to give concerts for the Friends Of Chopin Australia. This was his first recital in Canberra with the Friends since Covid.

This program gave an insight into the major styles that Chopin composed in for the piano. It also demonstrated Chopin’s ability to compose small, intimate miniatures through to major long form works.

The program opened with these shorter works – Mazurkas, Etudes, Preludes and Waltzes. Some were well-known works by Chopin like the Fantasie Impromptu and the Prelude in E minor and the longer Scherzo in E major completed this first part of the program. Nagano impressed with his calm manner and the depth of emotion he achieved in the works. He seemed through his playing to find another dimension in works you thought you knew well.

The second part of the program commenced with Chopin’s superb Nocturne in E flat major. Again, Nagano gave a thoughtfully restrained edge to this work that made his interpretation truly memorable.  It was followed by the Berceuse in D flat major, a sensitive lullaby. Nagano gave it an appealing softness in his playing.

The final work of the program was Chopin’s Sonata in B minor. This challenging, long work with its changing emotions was given a thrilling performance by Nagano.

As if that was not enough, he calmly gave two encores to the delight of the audience who gave him a well-deserved standing ovation.

Photo by Peter Hislop 

This review was first published by Canberra CityNews digital edition on 28 August 2023.

Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at