The Koto Music Institute of Australia

Community Arts & Cultural Development

Koto Transformation – Australis

Through a series of concerts and workshops, this project aims to bring the Koto Music Institute of Australia’s expertise in cross-cultural musical exchange to local communities in Singapore and the Philippines.

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Koto Transformation showcases the Koto Institute of Australia’s expertise in creating unique transcultural musical performances for the koto – a Japanese classical instrument. Their work mixes genres and musical styles from various cultural contexts to create new frontiers in both koto music and cultural exchange.

This project will bring their knowledge to Singapore and the Philippines and support the flourishing of koto music there. Koto music is germinating in the South-East Asian context, so the Institute can help to develop skills and expertise that will allow koto to thrive in this context. This project will create vital cross-cultural exchange to enliven koto music and draw people together.

In September 2018, Koto Transformation will hold a series of lectures, masterclasses, and workshops at the National University of Singapore and the University of the Philippines. The Institute is working with local coordinators to implement these activities and hold various performance rehearsals.

A small number of young people in South-East Asia have dedicated themselves to learning the koto. Unfortunately, due to the lack of opportunity for immersing themselves in cultural knowledge about the instrument, they are struggling to realise their dreams of mastering the koto. Without expert guidance, students are having difficulty sustaining and improving their koto skills and musicianship. They require a boost in motivation to take their skills and interest to the next level.

This project will enable local communities to participate in large ensemble works that they have never been a part of. We hope that the workshop focuses on cross genre collaboration and improvisation will broaden students’ understanding of the possibilities inherent in koto music and expand their own personal interest in developing their musical skills. Transcultural musical collaboration is an essential part of creating interpersonal and transnational links within the Asia Pacific Region. These cross-cultural connections are more important than ever.

All individuals involved in this project will be working on a volunteer basis. However, the financial burden of Koto Transformation is significant and the project is not possible without the support of the public. We are asking for at least $10,000 to cover expenses. Donations will be used to pay for artists’ flights, instruments, lodgings, and other expenses.

The project will strengthen bonds between koto communities in Australia, Singapore, and the Philippines, and foster commitment to sharing in musical exploration. We hope that more people in South-East Asia will be encouraged to take up koto or continue learning and expanding on their abilities. Koto Transformation promises to discover new terrain both musically and inter-culturally.

Videos of the concerts and workshops will be uploaded on the websites of the Koto Music Institute of Australia, KotokottoN NUS and TUGMA Koto Ensemble. For more information please consult our websites and facebook groups.

The Satsuki Odamura Koto Ensemble is led by Satsuki Odamura, the Director of the Koto Music Institute of Australia, and has been performing in venues and at festivals throughout the country for the last 10 years. The ensemble involves both the standard thirteen-string koto and the seventeen-string bass koto. Contemporary compositions form the foundation of the ensemble’s repertoire and the music played explores the depth and breadth of the koto’s sound. The energy of the musician’s performance creates a dynamic stage presence, displaying the power and elegance for which the institute is known.

Members of the Koto Ensemble are Hitomi Kurosawa, Brandon Lee, Yukie Ota and Yuko Yamamoto.

Guest Artist: Sandy Evans, Tenor and Soprano saxophone, composer. Sandy is an internationally renowned saxophonist and composer with a passion for improvisation and new music. She will be performing both in Singapore and Phillipines for their latest project.


Michael Watt and Cecilie Hall


John Tamplin


Momoe Rogers


Brigitte de Couvreur



Artists Website