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Peabody scholar plays his part in helping Puerto Rico hurricane victims

Bassist Yoshiaki Horiguchi embraces the citizen-artist role
Posted December 1, 2017

When Yoshiaki Horiguchi, MM (Peab '17), heard of the dire conditions in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, he wanted to help, but was unsure how he could have the greatest impact.

Yoshiaki Horiguchi performs with Trio Jinx.

So when he learned about Music for Puerto Rico – a multi-artist, benefit concert organized by Peabody's Latin American student union, La Obra, and Classical Revolution, a collective committed to sharing music throughout Baltimore – Horiguchi saw a great opportunity.

"The Music for Puerto Rico benefit concert helped open a door and presented as an opportunity to raise awareness and be a part of that aid," says Horiguchi, an Aegon/Transamerica Scholar and Peabody Institute doctoral candidate.

At the concert, Horiguchi played the double bass as part of Trio Jinx, a group that also includes composer and violinist Ledah Finck and flautist Louna Dekker-Vargas, who was instrumental in organizing the concert, the proceeds of which went to Unidos, an agency providing emergency and long-term relief for hurricane victims.

The trio has also performed for communities with autistic children and a local center for the blind, and they are planning an upcoming concert for Bmore Kids, an emerging program for underserved youth in Baltimore.

"We believe in using music as a vehicle for social change and that music should be accessible to as many people as possible," Horiguchi says of Trio Jinx. For example, Horiguchi taught for eight years at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids, a music program to nurture city youth.

All of these efforts align with Horiguchi's belief in the artist as citizen. "Being a citizen artist means playing at a high level of performance and bringing that off the stage in meaningful ways as well," he says. Horiguchi also acknowledges that music helped him remain centered when he encountered struggles in his early life, like being placed in foster care.

"Being involved in classical music has literally saved my life," he says. "And I'm very thankful for all the opportunities that I have had musically. They gave me a lot of self-confidence and affirmation that I was not able to find elsewhere in my life."

One such opportunity was receiving the Aegon/Transamerica Scholarship as a graduate student at Peabody. While teaching at the Peabody Preparatory, Horiguchi is now also pursuing his doctorate in musical arts with additional support.

"Receiving the Aegon/Transamerica Scholarship has allowed me to hone my orchestral skills as a double bass player and to continue to pursue a high level of artistic excellence," he says. "And with the support for my doctoral studies, I can continue to flourish within the walls of Peabody and continue to act as a bridge between different parts of the community and different aspects of the world."