Japan Project

Music to inspire, regenerate and connect

Oxford University Orchestra are partnering with Japanese Orchestra MOTIF, founded by OUO alumnus Shun Hioki, to engage in outreach work with El Sistema Japan and help improve the lives of children affected by the Fukushima disaster. 

Please note our concert in Tokyo is now fully reserved.

Time: Thursday 21st March 2019 (National holiday), 3pm (doors open at 2:30pm)
Venue: Fujiwara memorial hall, Hiyoshi Campus, Keio University, Tokyo
Tickets are free but must be booked in advance. Inquiry for returns: motif.office@gmail.com

A workshop with El Sistema

We are delighted to have been invited to partner with El Sistema Japan for their festival weekend in Soma City, Fukushima, around the 8th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. 30 members of OUO and guest conductor Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey will travel to Soma City to engage in music outreach alongside El Sistema Japan, teaching, sharing and performing with students in Fukushima as part of the regeneration project.

El Sistema’s mission is to expand children’s self-fulfillment through artistic activities including music and to establish ensembles in which children in a difficult position can participate. These experiences do not only encourage musical talent but also help the children gain self-esteem and build confidence, whilst receiving support that can make life more meaningful.

When Friends of El Sistema Japan was established in 2012, children were living in a challenging environment and struggling with traumatic stress caused by the earthquake, tsunami, and the subsequent nuclear accident. Many of them lost family members and friends, were relocated to shelters and were restricted from playing outside due to radiation levels. The hope is that the children will grow and regain a zest for life through the work of the El Sistema inspired music program.

This project is the first of its kind undertaken by OUO and has been made possible by our generous supporters to whom we are extremely grateful. It offers a unique opportunity to perform in Japan and experience Japanese culture. We will showcase both English and Japanese repertoire and have commissioned Grace Mason, an Oxford masters student, to re-orchestrate her work ‘Kintsukuroi’ especially for the occasion.

Orchestra MOTIF in one of their concerts

We hope that the project will deliver music workshops that inspire, celebrate culture and foster connections between individuals and the wider organisations involved. It will provide orchestra members – many of whom aspire to becoming professional musicians – with invaluable international performance experience. It also delivers opportunities to share, learn and build lasting friendships with the members of Orchestra MOTIF, leading to further exchange trips and encouraging further participation by all our musicians in future global outreach schemes. We would be very grateful if you could share this exciting and important project.


If you would like to know more about this project or the possibility of sponsoring the Oxford University Orchestra in the future, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at: ouofriends@gmail.com.

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Thank you for helping to make this project a success.

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