Koto Transformation Australis

When:26 May 2018, 4pm - 5:30pm
26 May 2018, 7:30pm - 9pm
Venue:Io Myers Studio, UNSW Sydney
Who:Koto Music Institute of Australia
Koto Transformation Australis

Koto Transformation Australis showcases a cultural exchange of music beyond borders, where traditional Japanese forms are transformed into hybrid compositions with unique Australian styles.

Leading koto players from around the world come together for two unforgettable performances as they premiere new works by Australian composers as well as students from UNSW. This will also be the first concert ever to feature music written down under for a koto ensemble, a feat made possible no less due to Satsuki Odamura’s untiring efforts to promote koto music. Thirty years ago, she emigrated to Australia under her teacher, Kazue Sawai’s instruction, to establish a school to teach koto. Since then, she has gone on to collaborate with diverse musicians from a range of backgrounds and commissioned over thirty pieces for her instrument.

Audiences will witness performances from pioneering musicians including Kazue Sawai, Sandy Evans, Satsuki Odamura and her koto ensemble, Ian Cleworth and more. Together, these musicians bring their experience and proficiency to blend old and new, foreign and local, thus creating a fusion of sound that pushes any traditional limitations.

In presenting the concert, organisers hope that audiences can gain a true appreciation of koto music while recognising a common bond that ties us together – music and its ability to continuously transcend distance and time.


Book now

Booking essetial.
Matinee, 4pm: Concession $20 // Full $25
Evening, 7.30pm: Concession $25 // Full $30

Promotion for UNSW students! Use 'UNSWSTU' at checkout to get $10 off.


Sandy Evans: Composer, saxophone

Sandy is an internationally renowned saxophonist, composer, educator and music researcher with a passion for improvisation and new music. She has played with and written for some of the most important groups in Australian jazz since the early 1980s, toured extensively in Australia, Europe, Canada and Asia, and been featured on over 40 albums. She leads the Sandy Evans Trio and Sextet, and co-leads Clarion Fracture Zone and GEST8.

Kazue Sawai
(evening only)

Kazue Sawai is a leader in contemporary Japanese music, bringing koto music to musicians and audiences that have never had the opportunity to fully experience the depth and breadth of the koto sound. She began studying the koto at the age of eight under the legendary Michio Miyagi. Sawai is a graduate of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. In 1979, her husband and she established the Sawai Koto Institute, adopting a new and relatively unconventional approach to the promotion of koto music, touring across Japan and performing for anyone with an interest in the koto.

Ian Cleworth (Artistic Director TaikOz)
(evening only)

Ian has been Artistic Director of TaikOz since its inception in 1997. In 2005, he became full-time with the group after having spent 20 years as Principal Percussionist with the Sydney Symphony and 16 years with the percussion group Synergy.

At age 19, Ian began wadaiko study in Japan with Sen Amano of Yamanashi-ken and performed throughout the islands of Honshu and Shikoku with Amano’s ensemble, Arahan. With the Sydney Symphony, Ian played under such conducting greats as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Lorin Maazel, Charles Dutoit, Mariss Jansons and Edo de Waart. In 2007, Ian received the APRA-AMC Classical Music Award for Long-term Contribution for the Advancement of Australian Music.

The Satsuki Odamura Koto Ensemble

The Satsuki Odamura Koto Ensemble was established in 2010 comprising the standard 13-string koto, the 17-string bass koto, 20-string koto, as well as the shamisen. The members of the ensemble are all qualified koto players, and the legendary Kazue Sawai, the co-founder of the prestigious Sawai Koto School in Japan, has taught each of them.

The ensemble has worked with a number of musicians from other genres, including jazz, classical, and other music styles. They continue to collaborate with local and international musicians, thereby pushing the boundaries of contemporary koto music.

Finding us

Io Myers Studio is located at the entrance to Gate 2 High St, Kensington. Look for the Creative Practice Lab neon sign in our foyer windows.

There is limited parking in the Gate 2 area around Io Myers Studio but free parking is available from 6:30pm in the car park next to NIDA accessed through Day Ave.

More information on getting to UNSW.
Download a campus map.  (PDF)

Produced by UNSW Creative Practice Lab

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