Lakeside Arts
Part of University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts
Event Detail
Midlands Piano:

Midlands Piano: Spotlighting Birmingham Composers

Sunday 29 November, 1pm
Online Event

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Cobalt Piano Duo (Fumiko Miyachi & Kate Halsall):
Fumiko Miyachi Up & Down
Michael Wolters Gisela Doesn't Care

Ikuko Inoguchi:
John Cage Haiku & Seven Haiku
Jonathan Harvey Haiku
Joe Cutler Local Music for piano and harmonica
Toshio Hosokawa Etude III

We will be highlighting the vibrant Midlands new music scene through this marathon, and this concert features Birmingham-based composers’ innovative approaches to the piano.

First, the Cobalt Piano Duo perform new works by duo member Fumiko Miyachi and her fellow composition tutor at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Deputy Head of Composition Michael Wolters, from the Duo’s April 2020 CD, Up, Down, Top, Bottom, Strange, Charm.

Then, internationally acclaimed Japanese pianist Ikuko Inoguchi performs a set around musical haikus featuring a new work for piano and harmonica by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s Head of Composition Joe Cutler.



To see full line up, please visit the main festival page  Blue arrow linking to festival main page

About the artists (click to expand)

Cobalt Duo pictures in black and white

Cobalt are pianists Kate Halsall and Fumiko Miyachi. Since their debut performance at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2014 they have championed new music by a diverse selection of composers from across the UK, including many pieces by Miyachi herself. They have recorded several albums, their latest release ‘Up, Down, Top, Bottom, Strange, Charm’ is available on Birmingham Record Label.

 Ikuko Inoguchi seated in front of piano

Acclaimed for her “subtle sonority and fascinating colourful tones” (Der Kessener), the Japanese pianist Ikuko Inoguchi – dual career as an international performer and musicologist. After studying with Vitaly Margulis at UCLA, she completed her Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Colorado, Boulder where she was a recipient of numerous scholarships and the MTNA STAR Award and worked as a collaborative pianist and Lecturer of Piano. Following a Visiting Scholar Fellowship at the Institute of Musical Research in London during 2010/2011, she was recently awarded a PhD from City, University of London.

About the composers (click to expand)

Archive photo of John CageAmerican composer John Cage was commissioned by a great many of the most important performing organizations throughout the world, and maintained a very active schedule. It would be extremely difficult to calculate, let alone critically evaluate, the stimulating effect and ramifications that Cage's work has had on 20th century music and art, for it is clear that the musical developments of our time cannot be understood without taking into account his music and ideas. His invention of the prepared piano and his work with percussion instruments led him to imagine and explore many unique and fascinating ways of structuring the temporal dimension of music. He is universally recognized as the initiator and leading figure in the field of indeterminate composition by means of chance operations. Arnold Schoenberg said of Cage that he was an "inventor – of genius". (Editions Peters)

Portrait photo of Jo CutlerJoe Cutler has been described as ‘writing music of quirky dancing energy and humour mingled with mystery’ (Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph). For nearly three decades, he has been a distinctive figure on the contemporary music scene, often exploring the spaces between genre. His music has been performed in over 40 countries and on six continents, and four albums of his work have been released (Bartlebooth and Elsewhereness on NMC, and Boogie Nights and Hawaii Hawaii Hawaii on Birmingham Record Company). He is the recipient of two British Composer Awards. Since 2005 he has been Head of Composition at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. 

Portrait photo of Jonathan HarveyBorn in Warwickshire, Jonathan Harvey (1939-2012) was a chorister at St Michael’s College, Tenbury and later a major music scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge. He gained doctorates from the universities of Glasgow and Cambridge and (on the advice of Benjamin Britten) also studied privately with Erwin Stein and Hans Keller. He was a Harkness Fellow at Princeton (1969–70) and Professor of Music at Sussex University between 1977 and 1993, where he remained an Honorary Professor; between 1995 and 2000 he was Professor of Music at Stanford University (US). He was an Honorary Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge and was a Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study in Berlin in 2009.

Portrait photo of Toshio HosokawaToshio Hosokawa was born in Hiroshima on 23 October 1955. Following initial studies in piano and composition in Tokyo, he came to Berlin in 1976 to study composition with Isang Yun at the Universität der Künste. He continued his studies with Klaus Huber at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg from 1983 to 1986. In 1980, he participated for the first time in the Darmstädter Ferienkurse für Neue Musik where some of his compositions were performed. From 1990, he was a regular guest of the festival as a tutor. In subsequent years, the composer’s reputation continued to increase within the international contemporary music scene and Hosokawa received numerous commissions. From 1989 to 1998, the composer was the artistic director and organiser of the annual Akiyoshidai International Contemporary Music Seminar and Festival in Yamagushi which he had co-founded. Since 2001, he has additionally been the artistic director of the Japanese Takefu International Music Festival in Fukuj. He was appointed permanent guest professor at the Tokyo College of Music in 2004. Hosokawa lives in Nagano, Japan and in Mainz, Germany.

Portrait photo of Fumiko MiyachiFumiko Miyachi is a composer and pianist. Her particular interest lies in creating bright sounds, often inspired by patterns found in nature.  Current obsessions include growing edible plants and looking after/playing with her two hens (Instagram #FumiFarm). Her music has been performed by musicians worldwide, including the BBC Singers, Opera North, Orkest de ereprijs, decibel and Tabea Debus to name a handful. Recent commissions have been supported by PRSF Women Make Music, City Music Foundation, Ambache Charitable Trust and Hinrichsen Foundation. As a pianist, Fumiko specializes in performing contemporary repertoire and since 2013, she has been one half of Cobalt Duo with Kate Halsall. Fumiko is a visiting tutor at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and an external examiner at Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague.

Portrait photo of Michael WaltersComposer Michael Wolters was born in 1971 in Mönchengladbach, Germany and grew up in Niederkrüchten, a small German village on the Dutch border. Wolters has maintained an outsider position in the world of contemporary music with works which deconstruct and question the traditional concert situation or which are designed for performance outside the concert hall. His works have been performed at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the ISCM World Music Days in Manchester, Spitalfields Festival, the Barbican Centre, Birmingham Symphony Hall, the Purcell Room, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Tate Liverpool and various other concert halls, festivals, supermarkets, art galleries, shoe shops, theatres, banks, opera houses, in cafes, on beaches, on ice rinks, in cinemas, on the radio, on TV; in Europe, Russia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.



Birmingham-based composers Fumiko Miyachi and Michael Wolters join University of Nottingham composition lecturer Elizabeth Kelly and postgraduate student Jamie Elless to discuss their compositions featured on the NottNOISE Marathon and the Birmingham new music scene under lockdown.


blue sound wave