Founded in 2004 by arts management expert Akiko Yanagisawa, mu:arts is a creative producer of music and arts. mu:arts features first-class musicians and performing artists as well as unknown emerging talents mainly from Japan. To achieve its aims mu:arts curates and produces projects, concerts, community outreach programmes and other events. It hopes to inspire audiences with a unique combination of traditional arts, contemporary music and is particularly enthusiastic about creating new cross-arts collaborations between East Asian disciplines and those of other countries.
In 1998 when she was at City University Akiko Yanagisawa, who comes from a western classical music/arts background, realised the lack of professional promotion and production of Japanese music in the UK. Her MA thesis at City University, London was on managing cross-cultural art forms with particular focus on Asia-Europe cross-cultural collaborations. Since 2004 Akiko has made London her second home and in setting up mu arts, created one of the major platforms for Japanese music and arts in Europe. mu arts significant productions and curatons include ” Hibiki – Resonance from Japan” a three days festival at Kings Place, London (flyer, FT review by Michael Church), Japanese Music Festival at Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome (2012,2013) and Museum Rietberg, Zurich(2012), Bon dance project as part of Big Dance 2012, London Cultural Olympiad programme (2012), coordination of Music from Okinawa at WOMEX (2013, 2014), Japan-Swiss 2014 and extensive touring of top artists presenting at the best festivals and prestigious venues around the world.
From the start, presenting excellent artists has been at the core of mu:arts’ mission. We are especially keen to promote up and coming artists.
Understanding classical and traditional art forms is often the inspiration for the creation of contemporary works. As a creative producer, mu:arts curates programmes that explores traditional aesthetics and values in a contemporary context.
mu: arts has worked with, and has a wide network of, festivals, venues and cultural institutions as well as close contacts with radio and other media across Europe and beyond. In partnership with these outlets, we offer new experiences to audiences.
In partnership with arts organisations and artists, mu: arts aspires to create innovative artistic fusions of interdisciplinary works where tradition, contemporary and different cultures meet. We believe that it is of relevance to contemporary audiences and the current arts market to provide a platform for cross-cultural music and arts.
mu arts designs imaginative outreach programmes . For example, as part of the project “Hibiki–Resonances from Japan”, mu arts commissioned the French-based British composer and noted music educator, Andrew Peggie, to design a workshop project “nature and music” in Gillespie Park in London. In this project participants learnt about Japanese music and nature, and were encouraged to find natural sounds in the urban environment to create a piece of music. The project culminated in a public performance at Kings Place in March 2011. In 2012, mu arts participated in Big Dance 2012, designing a successful 5 weeks Bon Dance (Japanese folk dance) workshop for older people in Islington.
Akiko Yanagisawa was also instrumental in starting the Azuki Foundation, a registered charity, with mission to introduce Japanese culture to the wider community in the UK.
List of partners mu arts worked with:
Festivals in UK:
Brighton Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, WOMAD Charlton Park, Little Chili Festival, Bath International Music Festival, City of London Festival, Canterbury Festival, International Aberdeen Youth Festival, Music Port Festival (Whitby,UK), Chelsea Festival (London), Liverpool Biennial, Peterborough Festival, Brighton Children’s Book Festival .
Festivals in Europe:
Paleo festival/Culturescapes (Switzerland), FMM Festival (Portugal), Imago Dei Festival (Krems, Austria), Osterfestival (Tirol, Austria), Istraetono Jazz Festival /Zagreb World Music Festival (Croatia), WOMEX (Europe) , Forde World Music Festival (Norway), Masala Festival (Germany), Music Meeting( Holland),Warsaw Cross Culture Festival (Poland), Les Suds a Arles/Festival Ile de France ( France), Torino Jazz Festival ( Italy).
Festivals beyond Europe:
Istanbul International Music Festival (Istanbul), Rain Forest Music Festival (Malalysia), WOMADelaide (Australia), WOMAD New Zealand, Mazawane Festival (Morocco) The International Folk Performing Arts Festival (Japan).
Venues in UK:
Southbank Centre, Barbican Centre, Kings Place, Cadogan Hall, St Johns Smith Square, Wigrmore Hall, LSO St. Lukes, ICA, Spitz, Ritzy Cinema, Banqueting House, St. James Church, Asia House, Brunei Theatre,Leicester Square Theatre, Japanese Embassy, Japan Foundation (London), Royal Pavilion Theatre (Llangollen, Wales), Urbis (Manchester), SOAS, St Cecilia’s Hall (University of Edinbugh), Geffrye Museum, and others.
Venues in Europe:
Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome),Tropentheare (Amsterdam), Rasa (Utrecht), Chester Beatty Library,Dublin(Ireland), Zuiderpershuis (Antwerp), Maison de la Culture du Japon, Jardin de la Maison-Atelier de Daubigny, Cafe de la Dance (Paris), Auditori Pau Casals (El Vendrell, Spain), Casa Armatei (Brasov, Romania), Museum Reitberg/ Musée d’ethnographie, Neuchâtel, ADEM, Birdseye Jazz Club, Teatro Sociale Bellinzona (Switzerland), Domforum, Teo Otto Theater, Jazzschmiede ( Germany)