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About mu:arts

Founded in 2004 by arts management expert Akiko Yanagisawa, mu:arts is a creative producer of music and arts.  We present first-class musicians and performing artists as well as unknown emerging talents mainly from Japan.  Mu:arts produces and curate projects, events and  community outreach programmes . We love to  inspire audiences with unique combination of old and new, cross -cultural and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Our past projects and events include “Hibiki – Resonance from Japan” a three-day 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), Japan-Swiss 2014, Noh Reimagined Festival (2016). We regularly presents  artists at major festivals and venues around the world.

 Tradition to Contemporary

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.

New Audiences

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 artists and arts  organisations , 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.

Community Engagement

We 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.


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 (Turkey), Rain Forest Music Festival (Malaysia), WOMADelaide (Australia), WOMAD New Zealand,  Mazawane Festival (Morocco) The International Folk Performing Arts Festival (Japan), Oct Jazz Festival( China)

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,  Print Room Coronet.

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) and others.


 Artists mu:arts worked with

Classical Japanese

Akiko Fujii (Jiuta), Tsuruga Wakasanjo XI (Shinnai), Jumei Tokumaru (Shakuhachi), Yoshiko Kurashashi (Shakuhachi), Bichu Kagura (Kagura), Shichiseikai (Shomyo), Hakodate Kodomo Kabuki Group, Kumiko Shuto (Satsuma Biwa), Fuyuki Enokido (koto), Yukihiro Isso ( Nohkan flute), Tatsushi Narita( Kotsuzumi), Mitsuhiro Kakihara( Otsuzumi), Kiyoshi Yoshitani( shimedaiko), Kuniko Obina( koto), Yoshimasa Kanze ( Noh shite actor),  Masaki Umano( Noh shite actor), Takinojo Mochizuki( kabuki percussion)

 Cross Over 

Yoko Nishi (koto), Hiroshi Motofuji (taiko), Mayumi Miyata (sho), Michiyo Yagi (koto), Shunsuke Kimura & Etsuro Ono (Tsugaru-Shamisen, Fue), TsuguKaji-KOTO (koto), AKI & KUNIKO (koto, guitar), Yukihiro Isso(all flutes), Sizzle Ohtaka (voice),  Joji Hirota (percussion, Japanese folk song),  Mamoru Okuno (Sound Artist), Shibusa Shirazu Orchesra, Taro Hakase( violin) ,Mayumi Miyata (sho) x London Sinfonietta, Michiyo Yagi (koto) x Evan Parker (saxophone), Tsugaru Shamisen x DJ Click (DJ).  Yukihiro Isso x Roger Turner ( percussion), Yukihiro Isso x Evan Parer

Western Classical Music:

Takeichiro Hirai (cello), Motoki Hirai (piano), Hiroaki Takenouchi( piano), Kunihiko Komori (marimba), Madeline Mitchelle (violin).

Performing Arts

Kamishibai (Paper theatre performance),  Kentaro Kobayashi (Theatre), Noh Theatre, Light and Shadow ( Sizzle Ohtaka and Takayuki Fujimoto)