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Masako | Piano Sanctuary

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New Age: Solo Instrumental New Age: Contemporary Instrumental Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Piano Sanctuary

by Masako

A ZMR multi-award winner, MASAKO's first "all piano solo" album! MASAKO's lyrical, subtle and persuasive original compositions always speak along with her impeccable playing!
Genre: New Age: Solo Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. When You Were Little
4:21 $0.99
2. Ragrima
3:18 $0.99
3. The Bird and the River
3:31 $0.99
4. Midnight Sun
2:28 $0.99
5. Central Park Retreat
3:33 $0.99
6. A Tale of Lonely Otter (Piano Solo Version)
4:33 $0.99
7. Sailing
3:44 $0.99
8. The Land We Called Hope
3:21 $0.99
9. The Lost Estate
3:53 $0.99
10. Koto (Japanese Ancient City)
2:59 $0.99
11. Frozen Quarry
2:33 $0.99
12. Tender Stories
3:49 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Born in Japan, Masako's artistic interests have been wide since when she was little. Recently, she's worked with William Ackerman (Windham Hill Records founder and a Grammy winner) to create two award-winning CDs. Her creativity never stops.

Will Ackerman
Grammy-Winning Guitarist, Producer, Founder of Windham Hill Records
"I was astounded to be present as Masako offered many performances so flawless that it required only a single take without edit to realize the pieces; performances of such quality that are so rare as to be nearly mythical. That such perfection and such depth of emotion coexist in her work is the holy grail of recording and production for me..........

Liz Story
Pianist & Composer, Multiple Grammy Award Nominee
"This music asks to be listened to many times. A truly inspiring experience. Masako's wonderful musical skills travel with an invigorating peaceful clarity....like the opportunity to observe a clear night sky full of stars."



to write a review


piano sanctuary
soooo beautiful
I am a therapeutic massage therapist have been in practice 19 years and this is my favorite by far

Candice Michelle

Melodically bright yet inherently soothing
Masako is a pianist and composer who resides in the Northeastern part of the USA. Having begun piano lessons at the age of four, by the time she was five years old she was composing and singing her own tunes while up on a tree in the backyard of her parents’ home in Tokyo, Japan. Comprised of twelve solo piano compositions, Piano Sanctuary is Masako’s third studio album and first solo piano album, with all three having been produced by Will Ackerman and recorded at his Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont.

Introducing the album is “When You Were Little”, which opens with a gentle simplicity. Soon transitioning into more melodically complex passages, the piece ultimately concludes with the gentle theme established at the beginning. Sitting among Masako’s most beloved compositions is “A Tale of Lonely Otter”, which originally appeared on her debut self-titled album, and likewise appears here as a solo piano rendition. One of my favorites on the album, this delicately heartfelt and somewhat wistful composition opens with a pacing that brings-to-mind Erik Satie’s famous classic, “Three Gymnopedies”. Other highlights include “The Land We Called Hope”, which features staccato notes in the upper range of the piano that beautifully beckon the listener’s attention, as well as “Frozen Quarry”, which is the second composition herein to have a Satie feel with its shifting tonal colors. Returning to familiar ground is the closing piece, “Tender Stories”, with its cascading notes in the bass register and twinkling notes in the upper register. Further showcasing a middle section that pleasingly reminds me of David Lanz’ fine “Song for Monet”, Masako’s touch on this piece is indeed quite tender.

A lovely album inspired by nature and landscape that’s infused with the personal touch of human life experiences, Masako seemingly imprints her thoughts and feelings, in combination with observations of the natural world around her, into a musical diary. Melodically bright yet inherently soothing with an airy, open feel, fans of Masako’s previous outputs will likely find this album to be another welcome addition to their collection!

Steve Sheppard

Review from One World Music
I had the delight of coming into the world of Masako in 2012, a year of many changes; her music then calmed the soul and brought a new focus to my life. The changes have constantly rang out for me over the past 6 years and in 2018 Masako’s latest release now plays its gentle refrains into my heart and soul, so why not join me on this new musical sojourn, through the works of Piano Sanctuary.
The style and narration and a musical prowess is clear to see, and we are off on an emotive ride with the first offering entitled When You Were Little, a composition that is filled with the light of sweet memory, passion and happiness, the perfect way to open any album.
The piano of Masako is always something worth waiting for and on Ragrima we have a gentle but reflective melody that will be loved for an age. There is something almost timeless about this piece that attracts me, the notes fall from her fingers like, crisp brown leaves from an autumn tree, and with each stroke manifests such a rich tapestry of tone to enjoy.
One of the most picturesque and sensitive arrangements is the very beautiful The Bird And The River. Her performance structure can change with an ease that is hardly noticed, but non the less very evident, and here on this piece one could almost watch a small bird, dip, swoop, and sip from this ever abundant river. Masako has a rare talent to be able to draw wonderful art within each composition she creates, and this one is a fine example of that.
On Midnight Sun, we have a little Jazzy motif that fits so beautifully; this laid back song seems to sparkle in this night sky of radiant music with such a smooth refrain. The confidence in performance here draws an even more elaborate picture for us to enjoy, and once more the magical skills of the artist brings us total peace and harmony.
I stayed over in New York, but didn’t have the time to visit Central Park, but I could see it from above as my plane took off for the Midwest. This is a sublime representation of the area in music and Central Park Retreat is indeed a sanctuary to many, perhaps even a piano sanctuary.
At the mid-way point we come across a charming piece called A Tale of Lonely Otter (Solo Version). There is indeed a sense of remorse and sadness built in here, but as always a tale to tell with the keys and this track seems to wend its way through a nature narrative of happy free times, mixed with moments of reflection and memory.
Time to take a trip across the lakes and seas on Sailing, there is a real energy about this offering that I love; it also has a little Beatles ethic sown in for good measure at the start. The power in this track is very redolent of the subject matter; we could feel at ease as if we are sailing on choppy but sun kissed waters within its construction.
As we move from the waters of Sailing, we come across The Land We Called Hope. Masako seems to be able to change course at will and here on this piece we have a sense of a fresh start and possibilities built into its musical narrative. The style is both confident as well as empowering and brings a new energy to the album that flows so wonderfully.
Something different is on offer on this next piece called The Lost Estate. This composition is intriguing and seems to manifest an essence of grandeur, but one that floats on the energies of past memories. I adored the performance here, at times almost classical, with a hint of Jazz thrown in for good measure, listen also to the elevation of intensity within this piece, this has to be the cleverest track on the album, with ease.
Within the next offering called Koto, we have a piece that could be classed as almost cinematic in parts, it’s has that essence and energy of drama, but seems to also create a narrative of musical quality that is truly addictive.
Frozen Quarry is yet another vista of great musical quality painted by the piano of Masako. The slow tempo, but assured melody draws us a wonderful picture of a frozen wasteland, through each touch of the piano Masako uses a little power, partnered with a gentle touch to illustrate this masterpiece of winter.
Sadly we have now reached the very last gift of musical genius from the artist Masako on her album Piano Sanctuary; this final composition is called Tender Stories. The exit from this her latest project has an energy of empowerment built around a calming and tender refrain, this musical confidence will allow us to leave the album fully aware that we have listened to a truly superb album, and will be very eager to revisit it yet again.
Piano Sanctuary by Masako is another step up for the artist, her skill sets grow and expand constantly, and on this release, she hasn’t only shown what a consummate performer she is, she has revealed to the world, that she is a composer of sublime and cultured music, music that can speak to each and every listener she connects with. This is a truly marvellous release and thoroughly recommended for anyone who wants to hear solo piano, played brilliantly.

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
Masako’s third album is solo piano at its very best. A lyrical, graceful and very expressive blending of classical, new age and smooth jazz stylings, Piano Sanctuary provides a warm and soothing escape from the craziness of our contemporary world. Like her first two albums, "Piano Sanctuary" was co-produced with Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton and was recorded at Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont. A Japanese-born pianist and composer living in the northeastern United States, Masako started taking piano lessons at the age of four. She belonged to Music House Moz in Japan and performed in clubs in and around Tokyo as a keyboardist. She also taught at the Yamaha Music School for many years as a certified piano instructor. Her debut album, "MASAKO," won Zone Music Reporter’s “Best New Artist of 2013” and her second album, "Call of the Mountain," won ZMR’s “Best Piano Album of 2014.” I have no doubt that "Piano Sanctuary" will also be recognized as one of the best albums of this year.

"Piano Sanctuary" begins with “When You Were Little,” a lovely piece of wordless story-telling. Sometimes sweetly nostalgic and sometimes a bit more dramatic, it’s a great opener that immediately draws the listener in. “Ragrima” is very dreamy and peaceful, highlighting Masako’s velvety touch on the piano keyboard. “The Bird and The River” is a favorite. My interpretation is that the gently flowing, but steadily moving passages are the river (mostly the left hand) and the more dramatic and fluttery parts are descriptive of the bird flying above the water and sometimes touching down - perhaps in search of a fish. Love it! “Midnight Sun” is both very elegant and very peaceful with a spare melody and the use of some evocative jazz harmonies - gorgeous! “A Tale of Lonely Otter” first appeared on Masako’s debut album as an ensemble piece, but it is a piano solo here - and a beautiful one at that! Another favorite is “Sailing,” a higher-energy piece with an exhilarating sense of adventure and freedom. “The Lost Estate” tells us another story without the use of words. Sometimes a lyrical waltz, the graceful rhythms and gentle melodies combine to tell a bittersweet tale. “Frozen Quarry” sounds brutal, but even though it expresses a chill, the scene is peaceful and serene. “Tender Stories” overflows with love as it brings this excellent album to a close.

I really think Masako’s third album is her best (so far!) and I hope more of her albums will be solo piano! Very highly recommended!