Thin Edge New Music Collective Presents:



*Celebrating Japanese + Canadian Contemporary and Experimental Music*


 September  20, 21, 22, 2019 

Doors 7:30/ Show 8pm

918 Bathurst | Culture, Arts, Media & Education 

Single Tickets: $20 General Admission, $15 Student/Seniors/Arts Worker

Festival Pass:$50 General Admission, $35 Students/Seniors/Arts Workers  


ONGAKU is a three day festival and cultural exchange celebrating some of Japan and Canada’s most exciting voices in contemporary and experimental music (September 20-22nd, 2019, Toronto). TENMC will be joined by visiting guest artists Miyama McQueen-Tokita (bass koto), Ko Ishikawa (shō), Ami Yamasaki (voice) and Akiko Nakayama (’alive painting’) as well as Toronto-based Urbanvessel featuring Germaine Liu (percussion), Aki Takahashi (shamisen/voice) and Sonja Rainey (projections/installation).  ONGAKU showcases world premieres by Canadian composers Hiroki Tsurumoto, Juliet Palmer, and Daryl Jamieson, alongside new works by Yuka Shibuya, Takeo Hoshiya, Toshiya Watanabe , and the Canadian premiere of compositions by Yoshiaki Onishi, Jo Kondo, Malika Kishino, and Miya Masaoka. ONGAKU will take place at 918 Bathurst and the CMC Chalmers Performance Space in Toronto, with satellite concerts/workshops presented by NUMUS Concerts and Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario (September 18-19, 2019).




Concert 1: Sept 20th, 2019, Doors 7:30/ Concert 8:00pm • 918 Bathurst



An evening of chamber works by Tōru Takemitsu, Miya Masaoka, and the Canadian premiere of Malika Kishino's 'Qualia' for bass koto and 10 channel electronics. World premieres by Hiroki Tsurumoto, Takeo Hoshiya and Yuka Shibuya. Featuring guest artists Ko Ishikawa (shō), Miyama McQueen Tokita (bass koto) + Akiko Nakayama ('alive painting'/projections).


Workshop: Sept 21st, 2019 11-1pm • Canadian Music Centre Chalmers Performance Space • FREE


Join us at the CMC for a free workshop with guest artists Ko Ishikawa and Miyama McQueen-Tokita. Learn about the intricacies of writing for traditional Japanese instruments (shō and bass koto) in a contemporary music setting.  Includes a panel discussion with composers Daryl Jamieson, Hiroki Tsurumoto, Yuka Shibuya, and Takeo Hoshiya.


Concert 2:Sept 21st, 2019, Doors 7:30/ Concert 8:00pm • 918 Bathurst


TENMC performs works by Jo Kondo and Yoshiaki Inishi with improvisatons by Miyama McQueen-Tokita, followed by a set of creative music by guest artists Ko Ishikawa (shō), Ami Yamasaki (voice) and Akiko Nakayama (‘alive painting’) combining traditional Japanese instruments, extended vocal techniques and stunning visuals.  


Concert 3: Sept 22nd, 2019 Doors 7:30/Concert 8:00pm • 918 Bathurst 


Works by Yuka Shibuya and Toshiya Watanabe (Canadian premiere) alongside the world premiere of large-scale multimedia works Utamakura 5: Mount Kamakura by Daryl Jamieson and "Ukiyo, floating World" by Juliet Palmer for Urbanvessel and TENMC. Featuring guest artist Miyama McQueen-Tokita (bass koto), and Urbanvessel performers Germaine Liu (percussion), ​Aki Takahashi (shamisen/vocalist) with Sonja Rainey (projections/installation).

Guest Artists:



Shō player Ko Ishikawa studied Japanese traditional Gagaku music under his masters Mayumi Miyata, Hideaki Bunno and Sukeyasu Shiba. He is a member of Reigakusha Gagaku Ensemble. He has been performing not only Gagaku music but also contemporary and experimental music. He is widely acclaimed on the national and international scenes. 




AMI YAMASAKI is a vocalist and interdisciplinary artist from Tokyo. Her work is diverse and prolific, creating installations, performances, and films in a variety of settings. She sings with a skill called echo-location for approaching the sound as a physical phenomenon and currently has just started to work with NOKIA Bell Labs to delvelope it. She has been trying to create new voices from research about different ways of listening, gathered from various communities outside of Japan. Recent solo and collaborative performances, include: “Winter solstice concert” (2018, Enoura observatory founded by Hiroshi Sugimoto), “Ryuichi Sakamoto at The Stone at The New School”(2018), “CARL STONE, NED ROTHENBERG, AMI YAMASAKI”(2018, ISSUE PROJECT ROOM) , “Experimental Intermedia 2017”(w/ Yasunao Tone), “Sounds to Summon the Japanese Gods”(2016, Japan Society of New York),“Signs of Voices” (2016, Kyoto Art Center, Japan). She has participated in numerous group shows, including “Setouchi Triennale 2019”(Japan), “VIVA EXCON 2018 Capiz”(Philippines), “Planting Seed” (2013, ACAC, Japan), and “Sonic City 2013 Liquid Architecture” (2013, RMIT, Australia). She has lead workshops at The National Museum of Art Osaka and Arts Maebashi, as well as a variety of television and film appearances for narration and voice for “MORIBITO II” (NHK, 2017) , “My Tyrano:Together, Forever”(2018) and Hayao Miyazaki’s latest short film. She presented at TEDx Tokyo in 2016. Asian Cultural Council fellow (2017), Asian Fellow of Asia Center of Japan Foundation (2018). In 2019, she will be invited to The University of Sheffield (UK), The MUSIC UNLIMITED FESTIVAL vol.33 (Austria).

​​​​​​​Akiko Nakayama(b.1988), is a painter who depicts the beauty of conveying energy through a variety of media such as installation, photography and performance. Combining the energy of movement and the vibrancy of colours, Akiko Nakayama brings pictures to life. Called ‘Alive Painting’, Akiko depicts the resonance between shapes and textures by using different types of liquids, each with a unique characteristic. In recent years, She has performed ‘Alive Paintings’ both Solo & Collaboratively in various cities worldwide such as ARS ELECTORONICA FES (2016) Linz , TEDxHaneda (2015) Japan , DLECTRICITY ART FESTIVAL (2017) US. 

Miyama McQueen-Tokita is a koto and bass koto player and improviser. Constantly in search for her own style, she fuses ancient traditions with new ideas that are relevant to the music and people of the present day. She performs contemporary works, improvisation and original music, and in addition to performing solo, Miyama regularly plays with such artists as Naoki Kita (vln), Tetsu Saitoh (cb), Bruce Huebner (shakuhachi), Masao Tajima (cb) and Keiki Midorikawa (vc). As her free expressive style gained reputation with a wide audience, she began performing often with artists coming from all around the globe to perform in Japan. She has been invited to perform overseas as a soloist in festivals such as the Powell Street Festival in Canada, Tokyo Jazz Festival, Melbourne International Arts Festival and Mapping Melbourne. Ensembles she has performed as a guest soloist include the Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra, the Australian Art Orchestra and the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. In recent years she has been putting energy into improvisation and collaborating with young composers from various countries, looking to create music for the koto in a style and soundscape that has never before been explored. In 2015 and 2017 she took part in IMPULS Academy & Festival held in Graz, Austria, as a bass koto performer, where she performed improvisation, and premiered many new works written for bass koto. Miyama has been taught by Satsuki Odamura and Kazue Sawai. She graduated with a Masters in music from the Tokyo University of the Arts, and is a 2018 grantee for the Asian Cultural Council New York Fellowship. Miyama is based in Tokyo, Japan.


“Ukiyo, floating world” is a poetic contemplation of the detritus of our disposable economy, inspired by improvisations with marine plastic pollution in Japan.


“Ukiyo” or “The Floating World” was the name given to the pleasure quarters of 17th century Edo, Kyoto and Osaka. For over 250 years, beautiful volumes of woodblock prints celebrated this world. “Ukiyo can also mean “sad troublesome world.” Wading knee deep in the plastic trash of our contemporary “floating world”, sadness is hard to resist. But “Ukiyo” can also mean “going with the flow”, sparking the transformation from a perception of abandonment to one of beauty. Playing the ocean's garbage, we were enthralled: from the sonic boom of plastic fishing floats, the screech of styrofoam buoys, and the rippling ridges of packing crates, to the rattle of gaudy plastic cigarette lighters and the resonance of hollow pipes.


“Ukiyo, floating world” creates a dialogue between live musicians and video footage of these “floating world” improvisations. Following a musical metaphor for ocean currents, the piece also draws on the lineage of one song, Ushibuka Haiya, which has drifted from Kyushu in the southwest to the far north of Japan, transformed by singers along the way. 


Many thanks to Aki Takahashi, Germaine Liu and Sonja Rainey for being part of Urbanvessel on the beach on Ojika-jima. Thanks to Thin Edge for joining us as we entered unknown waters. 



Composer & Artistic Director, Urbanvessel: Juliet Palmer

Designer: Sonja Rainey

Video Editing & Projections: Sonja Rainey

Videography: Sonja Rainey & Juliet Palmer

Shamisen & Voice: Aki Takahashi

Bass Koto: Miyama McQueen-Tokita

Percussion: Germaine Liu

Violin: Ilana Waniuk

Piano: Cheryl Duvall 


Funded with generous support by: The Canada Council for the Arts



Urbanvessel creates new performance works through interdisciplinary collaboration. Rooted in music and sound, the power of the human voice is at the heart of our creative process. Led by Artistic Director Juliet Palmer and drawing upon the diverse talents of our collaborators, Urbanvessel fuses sound, music, text, imagery and movement. Urbanvessel shares knowledge through our educational programmes and community outreach activities.


Urbanvessel‘s works are inspired by disparate impulses: from sound, politics, fetishes, history and ritual, to poverty, architecture, music and sports. Our creative response to the source material is filtered through an inclusive feminist perspective. A new interdisciplinary team is formed for each project, organized horizontally so that artistic decisions are made collaboratively. Our methodology combines improvisation and composition in tandem with an inclusive process for critical feedback and revision.


Urbanvessel was founded in 2006 by Palmer and architect Christie Pearson Works include: ON THE BRINK (Arts in the Parks, Mimico, 2017); SWEAT (Center for Contemporary Opera & National Sawdust, New York, 2016); BOOTS (Opera Peepshow, 2016); SINGING RIVER (Pan Am Path, 2015; Arts in the Parks & Waterfront Toronto, 2016); ROAD MAP (with MABELLEarts, 2014); FIRE ON THE WATER (Sunnyside Pavilion with TheWaves Collective, 2012); VOICE-BOX (Harbourfront World Stage 2010, Fresh Ground New Work commission); STITCH (Freefall Festival/World Stage 2008); SLIP for the Harrison Baths (X Avant Festival, Toronto 2006); SLIP (2008 BRAVO Fact! film); and THE PROVINCE OF IMPOSSIBLE (Voice++ Festival, Open Space Arts, Victoria 2007; Sound Symposium 2008; Ottawa Chamber Music Festival).