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About mu:arts

Founded in 2004 by Akiko Yanagisawa, Mu:Arts is a creative producer and promoter 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 programme . We are keen to inspire new audiences with unique combination of old and new, cross -cultural and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Past projects and events include “Hibiki – Resonance from Japan” a three-day festival at Kings Place, London , Japanese Music Festivals at Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome and Museum Rietberg, Zurich, Japan-Swiss 2014, Kentaro Kobayashi’s solo theatre show, Mr Potsunen’s Peculiar Slice of Life  in London ( 2015,2017,) Noh Reimagined Festivals at Kings Place (2016, 2018). We regularly presents  artists at major festivals and venues around the world.

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), The Clásicos en Alcalá ( Spain).

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 ,(Geffrye Museum,  Print Room the Coronet.London), Royal Pavilion Theatre (Llangollen, Wales), Urbis (Manchester), St Cecilia’s Hall (University of Edinburgh), 

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.


Past projects and events 



9th -13th October:  Noh and French baroque music- R&D sessions with Noh performers and Lyon based baroque orchestra

Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu

26th June- 4th August:  A series of events and performances of a sight Specific Opera “THE鍵KEY” UK primer, as part of Tête à Tête Opera Festival and  London Festival of Architecture. Mu Arts involved as the executive producer to lead the project to a great success. https://www.tete-a-tete.org.uk/event/the%E9%8D%B5key/


Monday 3 June 2019, 18:30-19:30 Japan House London

Kimura Shunsuke x Kit Downes Yokobue and Jazz Piano Performance

Japanese transverse flute performer Kimura Shunsuke is joined by award-winning jazz pianist Kit Downes for an evening of cross-cultural musical collaboration at Japan House London.




29th &30th June: Noh Reimagined – The sublime Illusion: Two days festival encountering the best of Noh tradition and collaborations with British artists, at Kings Place London.

3rd -4th July: Noh Reimagined participating The Clásicos en Alcalá Festival at Teatro Salón Cervantes


5-8 July : Kentaro Kobayashi (actor)  “Mr Potsunen’s Peculiar Slice of Life “ at Print Room the Colonet.


30th May- 5th June: “Tohoku Remix” R&D tour with DJ Click (France), Etsuro Ono (Tsugaru- shamisen,

Miyagi), Kagura groups in Miyagi pref. and Tsugaru-hayahsi group. Secured funding from Kigyo Mécénat Kyogikai (Association for Corporate Support of the Arts), Regional Culture Award Tax Accountant’s Fund 

16 May: Noh theatre lecture and demonstration at Instituto Giappone di Cultura, Rome .(Secured funding from Japan Foundation.)

13-14 May: “Noh Reimagined – the contemporary art of classical Japanese theatre” at Kings Place featuring             Noh performers including Yoshimasa Kanze(shite), Yukihiro Isso (nohkan), and British artists      including Evan Parker(sax) and David Toop  (Secured funding from Arts Council England, Japan Foundation, Arts Council Tokyo, Sound and Music, Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation (GBSF), Anglo-Japan Daiwa Foundation, and Sponsorship from Yakult.)

4 Feb: Yukihiro Isso with Roger Turner & Takinojo Mochizuki & John Edwards concert at Cafe OTO.

5-6 Feb: Workshop with Noh musicians for British composers in collaboration with Sound and Music. ( Secured funding from GBSF and Sound and Music.)


3-4 Feb: Kentaro Kobayashi (actor)UK premier “Mr Potsunen’s Peculiar Slice of Life “ at Leicester Square Theatre (Secured funding from GBSF.).

 31 May-1 June: -Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra – Torino Jazz Festival 


30 Oct~7th Nov: Aki& Kuniko Swiss Tour in collaboration with Culturescapes Festival, official programme of Swiss-Japan 2014 (Secured funding from Japan Foundation.)

   30 Oct Bird’s Eye Club (Basel)

     1 Nov Im Rathaus um 4 (Thun)

     4 Nov Teatro Sociale (Bellinzona)

      6 Nov Kulturpunkt (Flawil)

      7 Nov ADEM (Genève)

6th-7th Feb: Shunsuke Kimura & Etsuro Ono concerts at Musée d’ethnographie, Official opening of  Swiss-Japan 2014


15 Sept: Shunsuke Kimura & Etsuro Ono “ Letter to Theo, Encounter Van Gogh” in collaboration with a   French actor, at Festival Il de France (Secured funding from La  Fondation Franco-Japonaise Sasakawa). 

22, 23 July: “Japan Music Festival 2nd Edition” at Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, featuring Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra, and Aki & Kuniko. ( Secured sponsorship  from JT.)

8 ~ 28 May: Shunsuke Kimura & Etsuro Ono tour/ Germany, Belgium, Holland and Morocco in collaboration with Alba Kulture( Germany) and Festival Mawazane( Morocco).  ( Secured funding from Japan Foundation.)

 8 May   Köln
10 May   Detmold
11 May   Brüssel
13 May   Bergkamen
14 May   Hamm  & WDR radio recording
15 May   Düsseldorf
16 May   Wuppertal
18 May   Leiden/ NL
19 May   Nijmegen
21 May   Hagen
22 May   Herne
23 May   Remscheid
24 May   Gelsenkirchen
25 May   Bonn
26 May   Sankt AugustinIMAGE
28 May   Festival Mawazine, Morocco Rabat -dedicated to Silk Road theme.

31 May: Mieko Miyazaki ( koto) Concert with Orchestra of the Swan premiering new piece.

13 April~ 27 April: Alnwick Garden, Sakura Festival  (Secured funding from GBSF.)

8-17 March: Shunsuke Kimura & Etsuro Ono performances and workshops at WOMADelaide and WOMAD New Zealand


29-30 July: Marewrew and OKI at WOMAD Charlton Park 2012 (Secured funding from GBSF.)

25 July: London Bon Dancers at Japan Festival 2012 

5-13 July: Shunsuke Kimura & Etsuro Ono Europe grand tour

5,-6th July  Forde (Norway) Forde Traditional and World Music Festival

8 July  Zurich (Switzerland) Museum Rietberg
11 July  Rome (Italy) Auditorium Parco della Musica
12 July  Hannover (Germany) Masala World Music Festival

13 July Arles (France) Les Suds à Arles

            (Secured funding from Japan Foundation)

11- 12 July: “Japanese Music Festival 1st Edition” at Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, featuring  

Shunsuke Kimura & Etsuro Ono, Tsugu-Kaji KOTO ( Secured sponsorship from JT)

7-8 July: Japanese Music Festival at Museum Rietberg 

featuring Flying Zoo: Sizzle Ohtaka (vocal), Miwazo (chindon), Yoshiaki Sato (accordion), and Yuji Tsunemi (oud), Kumiko Suzuki Taiko group.           Secured funding from Japan Foundation.

18 May – 15 June: London Bon Dancers at BIG DANCE 2012 as part of Cultural Olympic. (Secured funding from Big Dance micro grand through Arts Council England.)

27 May: Bu U, Big Dance Bus on the White Lion Street, Islington 


26-30 October: WOMEX 2011 in Copenhagen, Official Showcase, 

29 July :Shunsuke Kimura & Etsuro Ono WOMAD Charlton Park, UK

27 July: Shunsuke Kimura & Etsuro Ono FMM Festival,Portugal.( Secured funding from Japan Foundation and GBSF)

18 May :Geoffrey Museum, Japanese home cooking event with Atsuko Ikeda as part of the Japanese House             exhibition.

3-5 March “HIBIKI :Resonances from Japan” – Japanese Music Festival at Kings Place featuring Mayumi Miyata( sho), Michiyo Yagi(koto), Evan Parker(sax) and others. (Secured funding from Arts Council England, Japan Foundation and GBSF.)

2 March: “Japanese Music -Tradition Toward the Future”, at Japanese Embassy in London

3~5 Feb: Kumiko Shuto (Satsuma Biwa) Europe Tour as part of Asian Festival in Uhtreht, Antwarp, and             Amsterdam.













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)