Francesca Le Lohé is a British composer & community musician active in Japan and the UK. She strives to make ambitious music-based projects which provoke awareness and discussion, bringing together the experience and skills of multiple people across disciplines and cultures. Operas include: “How Was It For You?”, exploring themes of Relationship and Sex Education within Japan and the UK (Tokyo, May 2022); “THE鍵KEY“: an immersive, site-specific opera inspired by Tanizaki’s novella, featuring a mixture of Japanese and Western artforms (2019 “Keizo Saji Prize”. Tokyo & London, 2018 & 2019).
Francesca’s work has been performed by ensembles including Ensemble Zar, Senju Dajare Ongaku-sai, GBSR duo, Psappha, and Red Note ensemble, and featured in Sonorities, Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival and the London Festival of Architecture. She has held artist residencies at Elektronmusikstudion (Sweden) Hospitalfield and NOVARS (UK), and is a London Symphony Orchestra Soundhub Associate 2022-2024. In 2020, Francesca co-founded the “Sound & Word Network”, an international collective of composers and writers whose collaborative work has featured in Tama Music and Arts Festival (Japan) and The Arc Project Festival (UK).
During my residency at co.iki, I will be working with biwa performer Akiko Kubota to create & rehearse a new piece for premiere at Jiyugakuen Myonichikan, Tokyo on Sunday 10th December 2023. My new piece “On an Endless Road” will focus on the life and work of writer & feminist anarchist Itō Noe (1895 – 1923). In her brief life, she wrote for and edited pioneering feminist magazine ‘Seito’ and campaigned for women’s and workers rights along with fellow anarchist & partner, Osugi Sakae. In the biwa tradition, performers recite historical tales of battles and warriors whilst accompanying themselves on the instrument.
Whilst studying the biwa, I began thinking of other kinds of ‘warriors’ and felt the biwa to be the perfect place to highlight the life of passionate activist Itō Noe through a new work with the text formed from Itō’s own writings. The premiere comes at a symbolic time: exactly 100 years since Itō and Osugi were murdered by state forces.
The piece will be performed alongside music by Japanese women composers contemporary to Itō and with insights from special talk guests Professor Iida Yuko (modern literature and gender studies specialist) and Ai Watanabe (Japanese Women Composers Meeting).
More information and tickets can be found here: https://itonoe2023.peatix.com
Updates posted on Twitter & Instagram: @itonoe231210
I am very excited to develop my work and prepare for the concert whilst in residence at co.iki. I am keen to meet new artists and expand my network through the residency and to spend time reconnecting with the friends and fellow artists I met whilst living in Tokyo, 2015-2021.
Performance & talk schedule:
29th November, 16:40 – 18:10: “Ito Noe via Biwa: Process & Perspectives” Seminar at Kyushu University (online)
10th December, 18:00 – 20:00: “On an Endless Road: Itō Noe and Women Composers of her Era” concert & talk at Jiyūgakuen Myōnichikan Hall, Nishi-Ikebukuro, Tokyo
13th December, 14:30 – 16:30: Performance and lecture at The Gender Research Library, Nagoya University, Nagoya