ON an endless ROAD
ItŌ noe & the women composers of her Time
A unique opportunity to see renowned singer and biwa player Akiko Kubota perform in the UK, in a programme of music by and about trailblazing Japanese women.
At the heart of this dramatic concert programme is a new song cycle, written especially for Akiko by British composer Francesca Le Lohé. A Japanese stringed instrument, the biwa is traditionally used to accompany narrative songs chronicling the achievements of warriors in battle. Francesca's new work celebrates the brief life of writer and feminist anarchist Itō Noe (1895-1923), killed by Japanese state forces when she was just 28. It is sung in Japanese with English surtitles.
Akiko has performed extensively across Asia, South America and Europe including with the Vienna Philharmonic and Brussels Philharmonic. This is her first visit to the UK. Francesca has worked in Japan since 2015, and in 2019, her opera ‘The Key’ won the prestigious Keizo Saji Prize. She is an LSO Soundhub Associate 2022-2024.
“An outstanding British talent… This is the timeless way creation should happen.” The Asahi Newspaper on Francesca Le Lohé.
Alongside this new work, sits beautiful music for violin and piano by three of Noe’s contemporaries who broke new ground writing in the Western Classical tradition: Kōda Nobu (1870-1946), Toyama Michiko (1913-2006) and Yoshida Takako (1910-1956). Click here to read more about them and their music.
'On an Endless Road' premiered in Tokyo in 2023, and Hera is excited to be presenting the UK tour, in association with Illuminate Women's Music, to mark International Women's Day this March. For the tour, Akiko will be joined by award-winning international soloists violinist Midori Komachi and pianist Yura Zaiki. Special guest speaker Dr Irena Hayter, (Associate Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Leeds) will be here to tell us more about Itō Noe and the politically febrile Japan of her time.
DATES & VENUES
Tuesday 5 March 2024, 7.30pm
The Actors' Church, Covent Garden, London
Thursday 7 March 2024, 1pm*
Tickets: Free, no need to book
Friday 8 March 2024, 7.00pm
Musica Festival, Martin Harris Centre, University of Manchester
Saturday 9th March 2024, 7.30pm
Howard Assembly Room, Leeds
All venues are wheelchair accessible. You are always welcome to wear a mask to any of our performances. If you have questions about access please contact email@example.com and we will find an answer for you as quickly as possible.
*Please note this free lunchtime concert will feature a shorter programme, followed by a talk.
You can also join Akiko and Francesca for two talks and demonstrations, to find out more about the biwa and their collaborative relationship.
Itō Noe via Biwa: New Perspectives and Processes
Wednesday 6 March 2024, 5.00-7.00pm
Japan Research Centre, SOAS, University of London
Playing Biwa: Talk and Performance by Akiko Kubota
Tuesday 12 March 2024, 6.30-7.45pm
Japan House London, Kensington
Click above to watch Kōda Nobu's violin sonata, which features in 'On an Endless Road' (played here by Yasuko Ohtani and Takashi Sato), or listen to some extracts from 'Itō Noe: On an Endless Road'.