Art & Design

“ Voices of Flowers” Ensemble  Canon 15th  anniversary song concert in the UK

9 August 2015, London

 Ensemble Canon (consisting of three Japanese opera singers Nobu Yamada, Toshiko Matsudaira, Yoko Yokoyama and a pianist Yoshiko Toyonaga) will hold concerts in the UK to contribute towards the mutual understanding between the UK and Japan.  We will sing mainly Japanese songs; our selection includes art songs, opera arias, lyrical songs, shouka (the Japanese beloved songs), and folk songs.

The selections for the concerts are works by composers who represent the Japanese music world.
Their lyrics are in Japanese from different eras, as from folk songs to modern poems. 

The singers have an excellent reputation built over many years performances on opera stages, therefore they will have the expressiveness to make a deep impression on UK audiences singing in Japanese. 

At the concerts, a British actress K.Fernald will read English translations of the Japanese songs to the audience. She will also talk about the cultural background of the works. We are sure that she will give a deeper understanding to the audience.  

.  This project is supported by The Tana Trust (Charity Number 268534) in London and Finchcocks Musical Museum in Kent.


 Main musical numbers
・Japanese songs
 Art songs and opera Aria: composed by Kozaburo Hirai, Tatsunosuke Koshitani, Ikuma Dan (Solo)
composed by Kosaku Yamada, Toraji Onaka, Akira Nakada (Trio)
Shouka songs: composed by Ryutaro Hirota, Yoshinao Nakada (Solo)
Japanese folk songs: arranged by Shunichiro Genda (Duet)

      Lyricists: Hakushu Kitahara, Takuboku Ishikawa, Rofu Miki, Toson Simazaki, others.

・British songs: Trio from Opera Mikado composed by A.Sullivan,
                          Song composed by N.Coward
    ・European Songs: European loved songs 


The aim of this project is to contribute toward the mutual understanding between Japan and the UK through music.  By having contact with Japanese music and literature and through the originality and the high artistic quality of them, we hope that UK people will deepen their understanding of Japanese culture and thus of Japan.
We will also sing songs from the opera Mikado by the English composer Sir Arthur Sullivan.  Performing this work, representing the British Japonism, will give a good chance for the audience to renew their appreciation of the fertile history of cultural interchange between the UK and Japan.  This is the seventh concert in the UK by Ensemble Canon, the project for the first concert started in the year 2000.  We want to make the 2015’s concerts to express our appreciation for the fifteenth anniversary.


Ensemble Canon (Canon花音 means Flower Sound in Japanese) is a vocal ensemble consisting of four Japanese musicians – Nobu Yamada, Toshiko Matsudaira sopranos and Yoko Yokoyama mezzo soprano, and Yoshiko Toyonaga piano. The singers are principals with the Osaka Light Opera Company and Kobe Opera Company. Ensemble Canon is very popular in Japan because of its extensive repertoire and vividly staged performances. The group’s 2001 concert in London at Burgh House and at Finchcocks Musical Museum titled “Japanese Songs”, supported by a grant from “The Japan Foundation”, was very well received. The group also held concerts, showcasing the beauty of Japanese songs, in London in 2003, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013 and this year is their 7th return to the UK.


Nobu Yamada (Soprano)
 Graduated from Aichi Art College, and got MA from Aichi Art College. She got First Prize in French Music Contest, winner in Japan-France Vocalist Contest and was given Osaka Music Award from Osaka Prefecture Government. She also sang at Osaka Light Opera Company as Micaela (Carmen), Hanna (Merry Widow), Gabriere (Wiener Blut), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus) etc.
Solist of Osaka Light Opera Company, Member of Japan Federation of Musicians


Toshiko Matsudaira (Soprano)
Graduated from Osaka College of Music and studied in Munich, performed Japanese musical drama “Kiyotsune” at Musee d’Art Moderne de la Vill de Paris in France in 1981, and at Japan Society in New York.  Since making her Osaka Light Opera Company debut as Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus) in 1983, her roles have included Hanna (Merry Widow), Saffi (Zigeunerbaron), and other main characters, all of which have been highly praised. In 1986 she gave Japanese song recital at the Japanese Embassy in Brussels. Since 2000 she started to produce to give Japanese song concert in the U.K. This is the 7th concert with Ensemble Canon.
 Director of Osaka Light Opera Company, Member of Japan Federation of Musicians, Member of Japan British Society of the Kansai.


Yoko Yokoyama (Mezzo Soprano)
Graduated from Osaka College of Music.  In 1989, she made her debut in Die Fledermaus, by the Osaka Light Opera Company.  Her roles have included the title role of Carmen, Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), and Hanna (Merry Widow).  Her singing, dancing and acting ability in Carmen received a standing ovation.  She is outstanding in both the classical repertoire and contemporary musicals.
Soloist of Kobe Opera Company, Member of Japan Federation of Musicians.


Yoshiko Toyonaga (Piano) Graduated from Sakuyo Music College.  As an excellent accompanist, she is busy working with the Osaka Light Opera Company and other Opera Companies in Osaka and Kobe.  As a concert accompanist, she was a prize winner in the Japan-China Friendship Promotion Contest in 2000


Admission fee: £8、Concessions£6

9 August 2015

Burgh House, New End Square, Hampstead, London NW3 1LT, UK

Tel: 020 7947 4164


Ensemble Canon   / The Tana Trust