Okeanos’ primary focus is to reach out to new audiences, dedicated to bringing awareness of new music, creating opportunities for young composers and initiating pioneering performance events, often collaborating with other art forms.
‘Staged at the Parabola Arts Centre the first performance of Nicola LeFanu’s new music-theatre piece Tokaido Road was a festival highlight…effectively blending western and Japanese instruments…always adding point and colour…allowing space for every character to communicate meaningfully. Tokaido Road was a true collaboration of several talents…meticulous…atmospheric…a triumph’. Paul Conway at Cheltenham International Festival writing for Musical Opinion
Tokaido Road: a journey after Hiroshige fulfilled its promise as an ambitious touring project reaching new audiences, initiating and creating outreach opportunities and bringing together people from different cultures. The inspiration of poet Nancy Gaffield’s original Tokaido Road led to a series of workshops, talks, photographic exhibitions and seven performances of Nicola LeFanu’s chamber opera to a libretto based on the poet’s award-winning eponymous collection, including a streamed performance by Euro Classical Online Festival. Read more at Tokaido Road.
Known for our mix of Western and Japanese instruments (oboe, clarinet, viola, koto, shō, shakuhachi) we were formed in celebration with Japan 2001. Our legacy of collaborative projects include: Lesley Millar’s Textural Space exhibition at The Whitworth; at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival as part of Eu-Japan; at Dartington Summer School Japan-UK150 residency with Somei Satoh; an SPNM/Asian Music Circuit tour, and collaborations with artists Katherine Dowson and Junko O’Neill. Okeanos have also worked with the koto soloist Etsuko Takezawa, and eurythmist Tomie Ando.
We have performed extensively in the UK including performances at major UK Festivals including Cheltenham and Huddersfield, as part of the OutHear series at Kings Place, and at the Barbican as part of BBC Total Immersion: Japan, and as a contributor to Japan 400.
We’ve broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, Resonance FM and Australian radio; and premiered over 100 new works, including commissions from Robin Holloway, Howard Skempton, Nigel Osborne, John Joubert, Judith Weir, Nicola Lefanu and Judith Bingham, and have been at the forefront of many young composers’ careers; Christian Mason, Lynne Plowman, Dai Fujikura, Chikako Morishita and Basil Athenasiadis among many others first encountered through composer workshops, speaking of which, we were delighted to be part of the 2016 British Forum for Ethnomusicology and Royal Musical Society’s first joint conference at Bangor University where we workshopped and performed works from postgraduate research students.
Hear us on the NMC Debut Disc series CD featuring the music of Dai Fujikura which has been acclaimed worldwide achieving 5 star reviews in the BBC Music Magazine and Italy’s Classical Voice Journal. Ryuichi Sakamoto and Dai Fujikura have co-selected ‘Breathing Tides’ for oboe & shō (commissioned by Okeanos in 2010) for their recently released book/CD for Avex. read more
Okeanos gratefully acknowledges the generous financial support of JTI, the RVW Trust, the Leche Trust, the John S. Cohen Foundation, the ACE Foundation, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the University of Kent.