This ensemble, lead by Tokyo based koto player Miyama McQueen-Tokita, aims to present experimental art music in a new format. With members from a wide range of backgrounds including jazz, Western classical, tango, alternative, free improvisation, flamenco and traditional Japanese, the ensemble strives to create innovative art music that appeals to a broad audience. By commissioning young composers known for their adventurous works, the bass koto, a traditional Japanese instrument, is placed at the forefront of contemporary music, and is showcased as a a global instrument of expression, unbound by genres.
At the debut performance of this ensemble, held at the notorious jazz club Shinjuku Pit Inn, the ensemble premiered works by Papua New Guinean pianist and composer Aaron Choulai and Austria based American composer Alyssa Aska, as well as featuring a piece by the late bassist Tetsu Saitoh, who was an invaluable influence on the Japanese improvisation community.
Miyama McQueen-Tokita is a koto and bass koto player, and improviser. Fusing Japanese traditions with new ideas that are relevant to the present day, she performs contemporary works, improvisation and original music. In addition to Japan, she has also been active in several other countries, such as Canada, the US, Australia, and various parts of Europe. Miyama also puts energy into seeking composers from various backgrounds to create music for the koto in styles that have not yet been explored, which led to the completion of her debut solo album “SONOBE”, featuring new and existing works for the koto by composers from all around the world, released in 2020. In 2019 she spent six months in NYC as a grantee of the Asian Cultural Council New York Fellowship, where she immersed herself deeply in the experimental, free improvised and new music scenes. Miyama has been taught by Satsuki Odamura and Kazue Sawai.
Shinjuku PIT INN, Shinjuku City, Tokyo, and Online