Akiko Kubota

Music by trailblazing women

Saturday 9 March 2024

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As part of the On an Endless Road tour, a unique opportunity to see renowned singer and musician Akiko Kubota perform in the UK, together with violinist Midori Komachi and pianist Yura Zaiki, in a programme of music by and about trailblazing Japanese women to celebrate International Women’s Day (8 March).

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At its heart is a new composition for voice and biwa, written especially for Kubota by British composer Francesca Le Lohé, first heard in Tokyo in December 2023. The biwa is a stringed instrument traditionally used to accompany narrative songs that chronicle the achievements of warriors in battle. This new work celebrates the brief life of a brave and radical woman: 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.

Alongside this new work sits beautiful music for violin and piano by three of Noe’s contemporaries, women who broke new ground writing in the Western Classical tradition: Kōda Nobu (1870-1946), Toyama Michiko (1913-2006) and Yoshida Takako (1910-1956). Special guest speaker Dr Irena Hayter (Associate Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Leeds), will be here to tell us more.

Akiko Kubota has performed across Asia, South America and Europe including with the Vienna Philharmonic. Francesca Le Lohé’s is active in the UK and Japan. Her opera ‘The Key’ won the prestigious Keizo Saji Prize in 2019 and 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

Presented by Hera in association with Illuminate Women’s Music

£16 (+£1 booking fee per ticket)


Start time

Under 30s Members


Kōda Nobu Violin Sonata
Toyama Michiko Suite after Japanese Folk Songs; ‘Lullaby’, ‘Forked Road’, ‘Rice Polishing’
Yoshida Takako ‘Supplication Hundredfold’
Francesca Le Lohé Itō Noe: On an Endless Road


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Howard Assembly Room

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Akiko Kubota: Music by trailblazing women

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