Japanese Aid Concert stars Slovak-family pianist

Emil Azuma Prikryl is a young and talented pianist whom the Slovaks have finally come to know well.  And so have the Japanese, and all other Canadians.

Emil was one of four expert musicians starring in a recent concert in Ottawa to raise money for the victims of tsunami disaster in Japan.  He has a connection to it. His father Paul Prikryl is a well-known communications-research scientist, and his mother Yoko is Japanese.

The concert was well-attended at an unusual location,  a new auditorium in the Canadian Aviation Museum.  Many people of all cultures came, and the admission charge was voluntary donations stuffed into cash boxes in the foyer. That worked. It raised a lot of money, and the audience clearly appreciated the musicians.

Japan's Ambassador, and the President of Carleton University, Roseanne O'Reilly Runte, gave the keynote speeches.  Carleton, where Emil is a student, was one of the sponsoring organizations. Slovakia's Ambassador Milan Kollar and his wife Soňa were in the front row seats among the honored guests.

Emil joined the crowd in a post-concert informal gathering. He asked about how to learn Slovak speech better, and was given an Internet address for free Slovak language lessons.  He joked that he would try them out but thought it unlikely that he could become a Slovak  novelist as good as his piano work.

Foto and text: Jan George Frajkor