In her new CD “Around the World with Love” available May 10th, acclaimed cellist Kristina Reiko Cooper, performs a collection of love songs from all corners of the globe. “Love songs are the most sublime expression of song; every country, every culture has its own ubiquitous collection of love songs,” says Kristina Cooper. “It is fascinating how each country’s songs of love so aptly illustrate its national characteristics and charms. The French are elegant in their reserved lyricism, the Americans, optimistic, the Japanese quietly tragic, and the hotter countries, passionate and sultry. I am Japanese-American, Israeli, and recently converted to Orthodox Judaism. My cello and I have traveled the globe, so this project has been a project that speaks to my diversity both musically culturally.”
T2C: Your parents are musicians, when did you find your love of music?
Kristina Reiko Cooper: I was surrounded by music. My parents were young when I was born, my father was still at Julliard. I use to curl up under the piano, as my father played. I loved hearing French music.
T2C: What song made you love music?
Kristina Reiko Cooper: Listening to Bach might have been it, but the first piece that made me love the cello was “Schubert’s Cello Quintet.” It’s sublime and I wanted to play it.
T2C: Why the cello?
Kristina Reiko Cooper: I started with piano. I didn’t want to play what my parents played. The cello is the closest instrument to the human voice. I loved to sing, but have a horrible singing voice.
T2C: What is your go to song that inspires you or just puts you into your special place?
Kristina Reiko Cooper: I have a running play list Prokofiev 3rd Piano Concerto, Susan Vega, Beyonce’s “Girls,” Ravel “Sonatine.”
T2C: If you hadn’t been a musician, what would you have become?
Kristina Reiko Cooper: I am a hypochondriac, so being a doctor might have been a good thing.
T2C: Your newest CD is14 love songs from all corners of the globe, what made you choose this concept?
Kristina Reiko Cooper: This is my way of singing songs. There are love songs in every culture. It’s universal! I am cosmopolitan, half Japanese, half American and I live in Israel. We also have an apartment in New York as well.
T2C: I am going to go through the countries; can you tell me your favorite composer and song from each one? Let’s start with America.
Kristina Reiko Cooper: Patrick Zimmerli who is on my album. He is a young composer and favorite song “Something Coming” from West Side Story.
Kristina Reiko Cooper: Song would have to be “Girl From Ipanema” and let’s get eclectic, Villa Lobos.
Kristina Reiko Cooper: Ravel is my all time composer and Debussy’s “La Mer.”
Kristina Reiko Cooper: Does Freddy Mercury count? In song Shankar.
Kristina Reiko Cooper: Osvaldo Golijov and the song “My Beloved.”
Kristina Reiko Cooper: Mia Zumi Saqura and the song Saqura
Kristina Reiko Cooper: Who doesn’t love “Besuma Mucho” and songwriter Carlos Shavez.
Kristina Reiko Cooper: There are so many but I would have to say Rockmonoff and “Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1.”
Kristina Reiko Cooper: Manuel deSalla and “Goyesque.”
T2C: What is in your mind for your next album?
Kristina Reiko Cooper: Two ideas I’d love to do an album of contemporary Israeli composers. I would like to do an album based on Haiku. Mu Great Grandfather Takahama Kyoshi was one of the most famous haiku poetry writers of the 20th Century
T2C: What should our readers know about you?
Kristina Reiko Cooper: That I am really excited to present this album. I picked songs I love, that were not necessary written for the cello. I want the listener to be as joyous as I was to record this. Also I am a harried mess, but I am having fun doing it.