In 2015, Ensembles Tokyo kicked-off as a music festival where “anyone can take part” in the various programs that were created together by the participants. For its final edition that was planned in 2020, I wanted to end with a grand Bon Odori dance. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic did not allow this to happen. Not being able to gather was crippling for music in general but was especially hard-hitting for Ensembles Tokyo where the music was actually made by people coming together.

However, instead of feeling depressed by this situation, we began to explore different possibilities for online workshops while reflecting on what we have accomplished over the years. How did we make it accessible for everyone? What were the concepts, ideas, and mechanisms that were implemented in the process? We decided to direct our efforts in documenting and communicating these as much as possible.

My intention to make a festival where anyone could equally participate in regardless of their experiences in music or differences in age and gender was rooted in my experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Since then, I have been constantly confronted with the question, “What kind of future do I want to make?” I wanted to share this thought process with as many people as possible by making music together. It made me happy that so many people could have fun building the festival together.

Ensembles Tokyo will end, but celebration through music and festivals will continue on as long as humanity exists. I hope that what we experienced together, all the sounds we created and dances we danced, will contribute to the future that you will make.


February 2021
Ensembles Tokyo Art Director
Otomo Yoshihide

P.S. Over the past 10 years since the earthquake, I took on many jobs as a director for festivals. However, this will probably be my last time to do so. From here on, I look forward to seeing you again in a different role, as a musician.