More about Tomoko Mukaiyama

selected works

Delirium is a work for four pianos composed by the Ukrainian-Dutch composer Maxim Shalygin and produced by TMF, among others. Delirium is the fourth part of the cycle, Similar. It is a very virtuoso piece in which the listener loses the sense of space and time, where going along with the musical flow seems the only option. The premiere was on April 16, 2023 in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam during the Minimal Music Festival. The pianists were: Tomoko Mukaiyama, Gerard Bouwhuis, Laura Sandee and Antonii Baryshevskyi.

EAT zooms in on the material and sensory aspects of our daily beginnings. A pianist, a composer, a ceramist, a painter who uses natural paints and the audience are together in a ritual that sharpens our senses. EAT is a recurring installation performance in which Tomoko experiments with local morning routines and the impact of our cultural and natural environment on them. EAT started with the theme of fermentation during the 2022 Oerol Festival. Tomoko organized a workshop on making fermented Terschelling fruit juice, a lecture on soy sauce and a workshop on making miso. The miso was carefully stored on the island of Terschelling for a year and was tasted during the EAT performance of the 2023 Oerol Festival.

The installation-performance figurante in the Terrada warehouse formed the main program of the TENNOZ ART WEEK 2023 in Tokyo. Figurante was created from a collaboration between Tomoko (piano recital and concept) and the Japanese thatching artist Ikuya Sagara. The floor, ceiling and walls of an enormous concrete warehouse were covered with plants and natural materials. This formed the basis for equalizing different means of expression, whereby the separation between pianist (Tomoko) and audience disappeared. The audience itself became storyteller, translator, explorer of space and responsible for light-objects, with the big question of how we are connected to each other and how we can change something in the world we live in.

In SADO, Joruri, a traditional form of Japanese puppet theatre, is combined with 3D animation and electronic music. Together with the famous Japanese puppeteer Hachirobe Nishihashi, Tomoko (electronic music) tells the story of unrequited love, weaving together techniques from the various makers involved. Contemporary expression is combined with Buddhist and Shinto traditions.

Love Song
Love Song is a local and eco-social project with a love for the artistry and craft of a community. Tomoko (piano and concept) works with local governments to draw attention to certain regions to raise awareness of its cultural wealth and creators. The project focuses on the potential of female artists, singers, musicians and craftsmen in particular. Participants work with Tomoko on planning and design to optimally present their work and products to an audience. The starting point of Love Song is always the indefinite encounter, not knowing what could happen, and trusting the possibilities of people and location. The project will be continuously repeated and already serves as a model for local presentations in some regions.

TWO – in transit Hara Museum
Together with cinematographer Reinier van Brummelen, Tomoko developed music-cinema, a multimodal performance in which music, sound, images and film are performed as much as possible in real time. TWO – in transit Hara Museum is such a form of music-cinema. Music and dance were performed in the deserted museum and its courtyard (Tomoko, piano, and Mirai Moriyama, dance and acting). It was produced, filmed and streamed on the occasion of the closure of the Hara contemporary art museum in Tokyo.

KUMANO, is an installation-performance with photos, video, stage design, extras, spoken text and music (piano and electronic music), made in collaboration with cinematographer Reinier van Brummelen. Tomoko was born in the Kumano region, known for its overwhelming nature, countless holy places, temples and pilgrimage routes. This Kumano is presented as in-between-time in which Tomoko remembers her childhood and pauses for a moment to search, find and rediscover the things and meanings that always travel with her, and us.

A series of piano concerts on location where music, images and film stories are interwoven. Cinematographer Reinier van Brummelen creates synchronized images that coincide with the movement of the piano keys and the Tomoko’s hands, arms and body. This was projected onto the facade of the cathedral in Mérida, Mexico.

A Live
A Live is a series of streamed installation performances. Together with cinematographer Reinier van Brummelen, Tomoko presented a new way to share the experience of the live concert with a virtual audience during the pandemic. A live was performed and streamed from the deserted Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ and from a nocturnal and deserted Van Gogh Museum.

End and Beginning
A concert with light installation in collaboration with Reinier van Brummelen. The starting point is Galina Ustvolskaya’s composition Dies Irae (1973) for piano, 8 double basses and a wooden box as percussion. Tomoko asked composer Alexander Raskatov, famous for his opera A Dog’s heart, to write for the same formation in resonance with Utsvolskaya’s work. Raskatov wrote the beautiful piece Bells with extended percussion.

In collaboration with Maison Hermès le Forum in Tokyo, Tomoko gave piano recitals in a stage-setting of stacked and hanging grand pianos. Tomoko played around the clock for a period of 24 days: each concert, lasting an hour and a half, started an hour later every day until the full 24 hours. About 8,000 spectators, young and old, sitting loosely around the grand piano, attended the concerts.

GAKA is inspired by the kagura, one of Japan’s oldest rituals where the sun is lured out of the cave through theater, dance and music, or in other words, the wonder of the new day is celebrated. GAKA was performed in the morning at sunrise, outdoors, on the islands of Terschelling (NL), Shikoku (JP) and Kozu (JP). 20 dancers sang, played traditional wind instruments and drums. To create GAKA, Tomoko has brought together an international group of makers and performers, including Un Yamada, choreography, Ting Gong, scenography and Maxim Shalygin, composition. GAKA was a co-production of TMF, Oerol Festival and the Museum of Art in Kochi (JP).
In 2020, Tomoko made GAKA-film in collaboration with Reinier van Brummelen and Aryan Kaganof, among others. This film was produced by Serious Film and supported by TMF and the Dutch Film Fund.

Woman in the Dunes
Inspired by the novella The Woman in the Sand by Kobo Abe. In this version the audience, pianist and concert grand piano are trapped in a dune hollow. It is an installation-performance made in collaboration with Ting Gong (scenography) in which Tomoko is wrapped in an enormous silver/white cloth that spatially accentuates the scene of the dune landscape. It is a production of TMF and the Oerol festival.

La Mode
An installation-performance about fashion as a modern straightjacket and as fascinating form of beauty and bodily expression. La Mode is a performance with 10 dancers, a catwalk, an architectural installation and a pianist. TMF created La Mode in collaboration with a selection of international artists and dancers. Such as Yannis Kyriakides, composition; Dunja Jocic, in collaboration with Spellbound Dancers, choreography; Toyo Ito, stage design; Slavna Martinovic, costume design.

The concept of home is more complex than the common idea of a comfort-location, of stability, security and grounding. Home can be a safe haven, but the same stability of place and values also can generate lack of freedom and oppression. Where home and the feeling of home even become a pitfall, something that must be overcome in order to live, in order to allow the ‘world’ to enter.
HOME is an installation performance on location, in people’s homes or in a regular theater, with dance, music, video and photography. Tomoko is involved here as director and as scenographer, the dance is performed by Ema Yuasa.

2014/ 2015-
My Private Odyssey
Originated from the collaboration with the Dutch dance company Club Guy & Roni led by Guy Weizman and Roni Haver. The performance is a metaphor for the path of life; dancers and musicians make their own journey and are put to the test. With Tomoko and David Dramm (composition) and live music by Tomoko (piano), Monica Germino (elec. violin) and Anne La Berge (flute and elec.)

East Shadow is musical theater with dance and live music, created in collaboration with director and choreographer Jiří Kylián and the dancers of the Nederlands Danstheater III in memory of the tsunami victims. It was commissioned for the 2013 Aichi Triennial. The work and the title are inspired by Samuel Becket’s work Neither and But the Clouds. With Franz Schubert’s piano sonata D959, andantino, and East shadow for piano composed by Tomoko. The soundscape was created by Jason Akira Somma.

An installation-performance based on the theme of the Aichi Triennial 2013: “Awakening: Where Are We Standing? Earth, Memory and Resurrection.” The theme refers to the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown in Japan, 2011. Tomoko played the piano in an installation in an abandoned shopping center, consisting of pianos lying upside down and a huge amount of newspapers and rubbish through which the audience must find their way. The big question that Tomoko and lighting designer Jean Kalman ask themselves and present to the audience is how we can create anew from the catastrophe.

A dance performance, made in collaboration with choreographer Nicole Beutler and lighting designer Jean Kalman. The Japanese characters of Shirokuro mean black and white as a reference to the concept of contrast. In the performance this is elaborated as a necessary connection between dark and light, silence and sound, heaven and hell, and playfulness and discipline. Tomoko played Piano Sonata no. 6 by Galina Ustvolskaya. The premiere was during the Tokyo Dance Triennial, 2012. In the Netherlands the performance was part of the Holland festival, 2013. In 2014 the performance was honored with the VSCD dance prize.

An installation-performance with two pianos damaged by the tsunami (Japan, 2011). Tomoko plays work by Chopin, Rzewski, Somei and Scarrino, among others, in a performance about the struggle between mourning and hope, about the urge to stand still while the force of life pulls you into the future. In addition to a tour through Japan and Europe, there were presentations of Nocturne in New York and during the Setouchi Triennial, 2013 and the Holland festival, 2014.

An installation-performance with a stage setting made of 12,000 off-white silk dresses that form a maze through which the audience moves. In the middle, hung high, an immense dress smeared with menstrual blood, below which stands the grand piano. Tomoko plays the Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach and improvisations.
wasted found a sequel in the documentary film Water Children, 2011, by Aliona van der Horst.

Show me your second face
Installation-performance in collaboration with designer duo Klavers Van Engelen. The stage setting consists of Tomoko and the grand piano in which they both coincide with an immense sculpture, a concert dress made of supple white fabric as a fusion between fashion and musical practice. Tomoko plays fragments from Bach’s Kunst der Fuge and So gehst du nun, mein Jesu, hin. Further, compositions of Nicolai Korndorf, Yarilo and from her own work ha-ra and you and bach.

Sommer Reisen
A series of piano recitals, inspired by Schubert’s Impromptus in which samples of city sounds compete with Schubert’s music as an alienating clash between cultures. It is a work in which the audience participated in making recordings of city sounds. The premiere was in Japan, followed by a tour through Europe and the United States.

You and bach
An installation with a midi piano in a glass cage, with light design and sound. It was presented in a concert hall. While Tomoko made herself heard with work by J.S. Bach and we saw the keys moving, she was physically absent.

Tar and Feathers
Tomoko improvised around themes by W.A. Mozart sitting meters above the scene at a grand piano with meters high legs. Against this musical background and stage setting, six dancers performed intriguing, mysterious movements in a surreal black-and-white world. The collaboration with choreographer Jiří Kylián and the Netherlands Dans Theater (premiered in 2006) was well received and she has since performed it with the Norwegian National Ballet, Boston Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet.

for you
A piano recital of approximately 15 minutes for one listener with which Tomoko deconstructs the cultural and social conventions of the recital. A visitor orders a ticket and receives his or her own program, a date and a time. Once in the concert building at the agreed time the visitor is led to the venue by an attendant, i.e. an empty concert hall with one highlighted chair.

Amsterdam ×Tokyo
Piano recitals as installation performances in four Dutch cities and in Tokyo. In collaboration with the architectural group PBX, numerous plastic bags were hung in the room with goldfish swimming in them, strongly highlighted in a haze of stage smoke. The audience sat loosely around the wing, eye to eye with the goldfish. Tomoko’s goal was to confront the audience with questions about ephemerality and the conflict between human intervention in natural phenomena and nostalgic memories.

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