Asuka Akagawa is a Japanese interdisciplinary artist, composer, guitarist, and researcher focusing on bringing fundamental, underlying, and potential social issues to the surface through manifestations of such phenomena and demonstrations of alternative approaches utilising primarily sound as an expressive means.

When Akagawa picked up the guitar at age 15, he immediately became addicted to the complexity of the instrument as he was raised in a family of mathematicians (architect/interior designer). Unlike the piano or the Koto (a traditional Japanese stringed instrument), both of which he briefly studied at an early age, the guitar had five places to play the same note. This complexity of the instrument allowed him to approach the guitar the same way he solved a puzzle. Accordingly, he began studying music theory at an early stage, soon immersing himself in its utilisation in composition and improvisation. Moreover, as Akagawa found equal interest in all genres of music, he never sought to specialise in a specific style. Instead, he prefers to blend elements from various cultures and seeks to develop a unique and personal sound. While Akagawa mainly works with sound, he explores the potentiality of interdisciplinary art, incorporating visual expression, digital signal processing, and computer programming as extensions of his practice.

Artist's Statement:
My primary means of expression is sound because I cannot sufficiently communicate the identity of a lemon only through auditory information. Perhaps pronouncing “lemon” can be satisfactory if you spoke the same language but what does it look like? It would be simpler and much more accurate to present a lemon if I intend to communicate the exact identity. The incapability of sound communicating accurate and precise information, in other words, the abstract and subliminal nature of sound is the main reason why I pursue the field. With that said, I consider myself an interdisciplinary artist as I work with various mediums. I seek inspiration eclectically and apply knowledge from a variety of fields when working on a piece of art whether it be a big band composition or an audio-visual installation.




An Evening in Azabu, 2021
Solo Guitar Improvised Sound Art recorded live in Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan
Guitar, Electronics, Mixing Engineer: Asuka Akagawa
1. An Evening in Azabu nº1 02:56
2. An Evening in Azabu nº2 01:36
3. An Evening in Azabu nº3 01:39
4. An Evening in Azabu nº4 04:17
彷徨う (Samayo), 2021
Performed virtually by the Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra directed by Greg Hopkins.
Composition: Asuka Akagawa
Woodwinds: Sheila Del Bosque, Sen Yoshimura, Ori Menache, Max Roark, Aaron Hayashi
Trumpets: Carlos Ramos Gomez, Miles Thompson (soloist), Greg Hopkins
Trombones: Auden Durant (soloist), Danny Thornburg
Guitar: Asuka Akagawa (soloist)     Piano: Yoko Suzuki (soloist)
Double Bass: Eduardo Diez Vieira     Drums: Gen Yoshimura
Mixing Engineer: Asuka Akagawa
1. 彷徨う (Samayo) 10:23
Foundations, 2021
Collaborative work with the Berklee Interdisciplanary Arts Institute directed by Neil Leonard, and students from UFMG directed by Marco Scarassatti.
Electric Guitar: Asuka Akagawa
Nylon String Guitar: Felipe Pinheiro
Percussion: Marcos Alves
Mixing Engineer: Asuka Akagawa
1. Foundation 1 06:36
2. Foundation 2 06:35
Untitled, 2020
Solo Guitar Improvised Sound Art recorded live in Seijo, Tokyo, Japan
Guitar, Electronics, Mixing Engineer: Asuka Akagawa
1. Untitled nº1 18:02
2. Untitled nº2 02:18
3. Untitled nº3 17:57
Li Estas kiu? II, July 21, 2023
Audiovisual Live Performance
Fabrica Research Centre, Treviso, Italy

Li estas kiu? II was the second adaptation of Li estas kiu? which "...explored themes regarding relationships between individuals, technology, and nature amidst an era of rapid information and telecommunications innovations... Through perhaps satirical expressions, the piece sought to demonstrate alternative mindsets on technology and nature." In contrast to Li estas kiu?, the expressions in Li estes kiu? II are personal, intimate, and more subjective. Ultimately, the performance sought to contemplate the spectrum between seemingly disagreeing aspects of individuals, technology, and nature. Hence the utilisation of algorithms and various technological equipment continues, but at the core of such auxiliaries is the individual. The performance subjectively engages with spectrums between concepts such as primitive and advanced, intentional and intuitive, convenience and inconvenience, ideal and real, and more and less.

Curator: Carlos Casas
Guitar/Electronics, Audio Reactive Visuals,
Lighting Design, Software Design, Production: Asuka Akagawa
Photography: Francesco Reffo, Studio Gerda

Li Estas kiu? (Documentation), February 23——24, 2023
Site-specific Immersive Multimedia Performance Installation
Fabrica Research Centre, Treviso, Italy

Li Estas kiu? was an Site-specific immersive multimedia performance installation that integrated various algorithms and gestures for a generative and interactive sonic, optic, and behavioural experience.

The piece explored themes regarding relationships between individuals, technology, and nature amidst an era of rapid information and telecommunications innovations. Especially after the outbreak of COVID-19, many countries witnessed one of the most remarkable culminations of remote communication. Through perhaps satirical expressions, the piece sought to demonstrate alternative mindsets on technology and nature.

The ideas were rendered through a hexaphonic surround sound system and 11 DMX fixtures consisting of 6 beam lights, 3 wash lights, a laser, and a fog generator, all controlled by a custom-built computer program designed and developed by the artist. In addition, utilising wireless communication between a smartphone and the computer, selected elements of the installation were manipulated in real-time by the performer's gestures.

Curator: Carlos Casas
Production: Dee Group, Asuka Akagawa
Photography: Studio Gerda
Videography: Fabrica Video Production Team
Architect: Tadao Ando
Art Director, Installation Designer, Composer, Sound Designer, Lighting Designer, Set Designer, Audiovisual Technician, Software Designer: Asuka Akagawa

Video coming soon...
Cu ni renkontigu eksterrete?, January 27, 2023
Audiovisual Live Performance

Cu ni renkontigu eksterrete? was an audiovisual live performance that celebrated and appreciated the preciousness of meeting and communicating offline. Since the pandemic, online meetings and remote communications have become the norm. While this system can serve utilitarian objectives for the most part, many important inexplicable interventions between individuals are still untransmittable. One straightforward approach to manifesting and accessing one of these elements was through real-time collective improvisation, which still remains challenging online. Three musicians from three different countries gathered for the event and spontaneously improvised on their instruments without establishing a defined framework. The resulting concert was an intuitive and primitive form of communication between musicians who crossed paths at one point in their careers.

Alto Saxophone/Electronics: Neil Leonard
Double Bass/Electronics: Shin Sakaino
Guitar/Electronics, Audio Reactive Visuals,
Set Design, Software Design: Asuka Akagawa

Staircase Installation (Documentation), September–October 2022
Interactive and Generative Sound Installation
Fabrica Research Centre, Treviso, Italy

Restored and augmented by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, a unique non-utilitarian staircase ascending from the bottom of the spiral-shaped library at Fabrica Research Centre offers a captivating reverberation. A computer placed on top of two vertically stacked speakers sensed movements in the space through its webcam. The sound organised around the resonant frequencies of the space subtly reacted as visitors ascended and descended the stairs.

Installation Design, Sound Design,
Software Design, Production: Asuka Akgawa
Photography: Josef Paul and Asuka Akagawa
Architect: Tadao Ando
IMG_0584, January 2022
JPEG Image
2723 x 3630 px
Camera: iPhone 12 Pro
Colour Space: RGB
Colour Profile: Display P3
Focal Length: 4.2 mm
F number: f/1.6
Exposure time: 1/60
Kinmokusei Improvisation nº1 (Excerpts), October 2021
Solo Guitar Improvised Sound Art
Recorded live at Stump Base 1F, Minami Aoyama, Minato, Tokyo
Duration: 15:46
Director of photography: Nana Kobakura
Video: Nana Kobakura, Samasa Sissistar, Ryuhei Watanabe
Architect: Tadao Ando
Guitar, Electronics, Lighting Design, Set Design, Software Design, Production: Asuka Akagawa

Video also available on YouTube
Big Band (8 5 4)
Composer: Asuka Akagawa
Duration: approx. 12:00
Big Band (8 6or5 4)
Composer: Asuka Akagawa
Later Subliminal Disorder
Big Band (8 6or5 4)
Composer: Asuka Akagawa
Big Band (8 6or5 4)
Composer: Asuka Akagawa
You Must Believe In Spring
Big Band (8 6or5 4)
Composer: Michel Legrand
Duration: approx. 4:00
My Favorite Things
Big Band (8 6or5 4)
Composer: Richard Rogers
Duration: approx.
Sechs kleine Klavierstücke Op.19
Composer: Arnold Schönberg
Duration: approx. 4:30
La cathédrale engloutie from Preludes Book I
Composer: Claude Debussy