Woman’s Hour, the iconic BBC Radio 4 programme, is to feature an interview with me and fellow pianist Noriko Ogawa on March 29. The interview was originally planned as a discussion between me and Noriko about my book ‘Out of Silence’, which Noriko is currently translating into Japanese. This is a very unusual collaboration between two pianists who are also active as writers. On the programme, we planned to describe our interesting exchanges about how to translate certain concepts into Japanese, and how to preserve some of my English word-play. For example, there’s a chapter where I muse on how the word ‘play’ is used both for playing a musical instrument, and for playing in the sense that children do – playing for fun, playing a game. In the book I say how important it is that playing a musical instrument should have something of this joyous quality. This word-play turns out to be a challenge for the translator because in Japanese the word ‘to play’ a musical instrument is completely different from the word for children’s play.
Since the programme was planned, events in Japan have overtaken us, and Noriko is now organising ain aid of the Red Cross, in King’s Place, London, on the evening of March 30. Our discussion about my book, and some piano music played by us both individually and as a duet, will now be framed by announcements of Noriko’s concert, so that the enormous audience for Woman’s Hour will be aware of it. Noriko is in Japan at the moment, and still has to get back to London to record our interview. Obviously travel plans from Japan are unpredictable, but we hope everything will work out, and the feature is scheduled to be broadcast on the morning of Tuesday March 29th.