Nicola LeFanu

Live stream of Tokaido Road video, 17.30 March 1st

On Tuesday March 1st at 17.30, click this link to watch the video of Tokaido Road - live stream in the Classical Live Festival.

'Lament 1988' performance, February 26th 2016

'Lament 1988' will be performed by players from the Chimera Ensemble, at the Jack Lyons Concert Hall, York, on Friday February 26th at 7.30. 'Lament' is scored for oboe, clarinet, viola and cello; it was written in 1988 to mark Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday; at that date, he was still imprisoned.

Performances in February and March 2016

The Little Valleys for high voices, a cappella

Elysian Singers, Saturday 13th February, 7.30pm, St Peter's Eaton Square, London SW1


Chimera, Friday 6th Feb 7.30pm, JLCH York.

A Penny for a Song for soprano and piano

Ana Beard Fernandez, Kate Ledger; Late Music Series, Saturday Feb 27th, St Saviourgate Chapel, York.

La Cancion de la Luna for countertenor and string quartet

Ensemble directed by Cayenna Ponchione, Monday March 7th, 7pm, Holywell Music Room, Oxford.

Invisible Places for clarinet quintet

Goldfield Ensemble, Tuesday March 8th, 7pm, Cardiff University Concert Hall

Misterium Mirabile released on Elektra Choir CD

Misterium Mirabile, Christmas carol for SSA, has been released on a new CD 'Still' by Elektra Women's Choir of Vancouver. Get it here:

Concert at Kings Place, October 24th is cancelled

This concert is now cancelled.

Sea Sketches for clarinet and piano will be performed in a BASCA concert on Saturday October 24th. It is part of the Equator 'Women of the World' festivities at Kings Place, London N1 9AG. There is a debate about women musicians at 2.30, and the concert follows at 3.20 - 5pm.

Tokaido Road in York

On Wednesday October 28th 2015, Tokaido Road will be performed in the Lyons Concert Hall, University of York. For the current tour, this is the final performance. The performance is at 7.30, with a pre-concert talk at 6.30. Tickets from 01904 322439 or

Eight Studies for solo piano

Matthew Schellhorn will play the Eight Studies (which were written for him) on Saturday September 5th: 7.30pm at St Saviourgate Chapel, York, in the 'Late Music' series.

Tokaido Road: summer performances

Tokaido Road is on at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury, on Saturday May 23rd, 7.30.

On Saturday June 27th, 7.30, it is at the Alwinton Festival, in Northumberland.

Premiere, 'Fantasy for Four Harps'

On Thursday May 28th at 7pm in Temple Church, London, EC4, the ensemble '4 Girls, 4 Harps' give the premiere of four commissions celebrating distinguished women from the past. My 'Fantasy' celebrates Millicent Fawcett.

London premiere Tokaido Road

Tokaido Road receives its London premiere on Wednesday February 25th; 5.30 pm at the Milton Court Theatre, Barbican, London.
'Tokaido Road: a Journey after Hiroshige' was commissioned by Okeanos.

'Inspired by the Japanese artist Hiroshige’s woodblock print series 53 Stations of the Tokaido, LeFanu and her librettist Nancy Gaffield have created an existential journey in speech, song, mime and dance with Hiroshige’s pictures projected. What with unhappy love, treacherous rivers and wintry scenes, it’s rather like an oriental Winterreise. We’re left with Hiroshige in old age, singing his own epitaph, and the dying murmurs of the sho (Japanese mouth organ) and flickerings of the plucked koto.
The strongest element in Tokaido Road is LeFanu’s sensitive use of the combined western and Japanese sound palette of the Okeanos ensemble, which combines the likes of sho and koto with oboe, clarinet, viola and cello.

The piece is well paced and meticulously thought through, with spare instrumental lines exquisitely woven with the voices and deftly conducted by Dominic Wheeler. The director Caroline Clegg and choreographer Nando Messias guide the body language of the old Hiroshige (baritone Jeremy Huw Williams, speaking) and the young, travelling Hiroshige (Williams, singing), the two lovers Kikuyo (Raphaela Papadakis) and Mariko (Caryl Hughes), and Tomoko Komura’s superb mime artistry. Every word is audible, every movement is eloquent and Kimie Nakano’s design remains long in the mind’s eye.'

The Times July 8th 2014. ****

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