Tetsuo Matsuda

Born in a village, in Akita Japan, in 1945, Tetsuo Matsuda credits a childhood surrounded by music as the inspiration for his violin skills.

A village in the mountains devoid of any amusements of particular kind, drinking and singing folk songs were the only pleasure available to the neighborhood. Good at playing the shamisen, my uncle often accompanied singers. Although he had a fine voice himself, he seldom sang due to his physical problem. When he did sing, people marvelled at the outstanding sonority of his voice. Quite naturally, my elder brothers, who were also good on their own, used to sing too. So far as I can remember, folk songs were always around me in my boyhood, but how could I predict that this would have any bearing upon what I am presently doing?

It was soon after I came to Tokyo that I became interested in western classical music, notably violin music. It so happened that a violinmaker lived near by and I began learning the basics of his profession. Unable to abandon my dream to study in Europe which has its musical tradition of many hundred years, in 1977, I went to Italy. With my eyes closed, whenever I mused over what violin sound is, my uncle’s singing voice, not too strong yet tenacious and far reaching, started resounding through my head and I felt that I heard his voice overlapped with the sound of the famous Italian violins. Thinking about colors of varnish reminds me of splendidly colored leaves in autumn in the country mountains. Looking back upon my past, I say to myself that though I was brought up in an environment without a history of instrument manufacture, my instinets were fostered in that mountain village of mine.